WASHINGTON, D.C. (Gray Media Group/KWQC) - An Iowa school district is facing criticism by the National Transportation Safety Board after the completion of the investigation into a deadly bus accident.
The NTSB wrapped up its investigation into why a Riverside High School student and her bus driver died when the bus they were on got stuck in a ditch and caught on fire. It happened in December of 2017 in western Iowa near the town of Carson.
Investigators say the 74-year-old bus driver's back condition impaired his ability to evacuate the bus. The NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the Riverside Community School District didn't take steps to make sure the bus driver was physically capable of getting himself and passengers out of the bus during an emergency.
"The school district's role was not what it should have been. They were aware that this driver had a physical impairment, and they should've stepped in and required him to, require additional testing or just take him out of service until that impairment could have been corrected," said Sumwalt.
16-year-old Megan Klindt also died in the fire. Her parents were in the room Tuesday as the announcement was made. Her father is asking for resignations from school officials whom, according to the report, knew the driver was not medically fit to help people evacuate the bus in an emergency.
The NTSB also found the fire started in the turbocharger of the bus engine because the driver repeatedly tried to accelerate out of the ditch he had backed into, but the bus remained stuck and the tailpipe was blocked.