A Dallas Independent School District bus accident is being reviewed by officials after they learned of surveillance video obtained by NBC 5.
The accident happened Thursday, on the first day bus drivers were testing routes without passengers for the new Dallas ISD transportation service.
Dallas ISD has taken over the service from Dallas County Schools, the bus agency that was ordered closed by voters last year after NBC 5 reports on a vendor scandal and safety concerns.
Driving his SUV, Michael Fritz said he encountered the bus, stopped at a traffic signal around 10 a.m. on West Kiest Boulevard at Cockrell Hill Road.
“I come up behind him and stop about a car length behind,” Fritz said. “All of a sudden I hear, ‘Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep.’ I’m like, Oh my goodness, the bus is backing up.”
Fritz took photos of the damage to his car which he said was later estimated at $10,000.
At the scene, Fritz said the bus driver accepted responsibility, saying he had backed up after stopping too far into the intersection on the red light.
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The next day as Fritz tried to pursue a claim, he said the school district told him a different story.
“The driver said I ran into the back of his bus,” Fritz said.
Fritz discovered the corner gas station had surveillance video. It clearly shows the bus backing up into the stopped car.
NBC 5 law enforcement expert Don Peritz watched the video. Peritz spent many years as a traffic enforcement supervisor with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
“If I were investigating that particular crash and saw that particular video, I would fault the school bus driver for backing up into traffic,” Peritz said. “It is not ever OK to back up into traffic. The other drivers are not expecting something like that and it is unsafe to do so.”
Fritz said he needs an SUV for his delivery work and the school district’s refusal to accept responsibility is causing him a major expense for repairs and a temporary replacement vehicle.
“I think DISD should do the responsible thing,” Fritz said.
Fritz said the bus driver said he worked for DCS in the past and had driven a route in the same area before.
Fritz said the bus driver shared proof of insurance information after the accident that still showed DCS as the bus operator.
Dallas ISD News and Information Director Robyn Harris issued a statement Monday, acknowledging the accident.
“Dallas ISD officials are reviewing the details of the case to determine how and why this occurred,” the statement said.