ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The school bus driver blamed for crashing into another school bus and sending students to the hospital last week has been fired.
A police report suggests he may have lied about how the crash happened outside Washington Middle School.
The driver told police there was something wrong with his brakes, according to a police report. But police say that is not true.
The crash had several students complaining of neck and back pain and at least nine were sent to the hospital to be checked out. Many are still surprised it happened.
“I had just picked up my daughter and then when I went home, I turned on the news,” said Rosa Benavidez.
A police report obtained by News 13 shows bus driver James Garcia hit the bus in front of him Friday after it started to drive away, then stopped to pick up one more student.
According to the police report, Garcia claimed he thought his brakes failed when he tried to stop.
But the investigation later revealed he never stepped on the brakes and the brakes work fine.
The owner of Beal Bus Company, Denny Beal, said Garcia had worked there since 2006.
Beal said Garcia wasn't paying attention at the time of the crash, that he was talking with some students about safety around buses.
Zuri Orteja said her brother was on the bus that was hit.
“He said the kids got injured because they were standing, so that's not appropriate for them to be standing,” she said.
Orteja also said her brother’s driver stopped very suddenly in front of Garcia, but the Beal Bus Company told us the second bus driver is still employed and back on the job.
Both bus drivers had been on paid leave.
Beal said Garcia had been involved in one other crash while driving a school bus. That crash did not involve another school bus.
APS police led the investigation. They said all the students involved in the crash are OK.
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