HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Hillsborough County School bus driver has been found not guilty in a case that started when a bus he was driving ended up in a pond with 27 students on board.
On September 17, 2015 Lenoir Sainfimin was driving children home from Bryant Elementary School when he lost control of the bus and drove into a retention pond on Nine Eagles Drive in Odessa.
Sainfimin was cited for reckless driving, but Friday morning, a Hillsborough judge ruled there was no evidence to support the charge.
“Due to the lack of evidence presented in this case and, like I said, there is no witnesses here today, the court finds Mr. Sainfimin not guilty in this case,” said Williams.
Attorneys for Sainfimin maintain their client did nothing wrong and the fact that the State Attorney and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office failed to show up for the hearing proves that.
“He had no fault. He did everything that he could to avoid the accident. He was pumping the brakes. We have an old fleet, an old bus, recurring problems that jeopardize the safety of the children,” said attorney Ralph Fernandez, who is representing Sainfimin.
Records show the bus Sainfimin was driving that day was more than 20 years old and had more than 293,000 miles on it.
Fernandez maintains the brakes on the bus failed that day and Sainfimin was doing everything he could to stop the bus before it went into the pond.
Judge Williams said no evidence was ever presented in court about the brakes.
“There has been no evidence of speed given. The issue was, did the brakes fail him? That was the issue, but we’ve had no testimony related to brakes,” said Williams.
A video from on board the bus appears to show Sainfimin repeatedly pumping the brakes before the crash.
“It showed him to appear to be alert and paying attention at the time the incident occurred,” said Williams.
Tanya Arja with the Hillsborough County School system strongly denies there are problems with the bus fleet.
“The busses are safe, they go through an inspection every 30 days. Old busses does not mean unsafe busses. The busses are inspected and they go through routine inspection all the time,” said Arja.
Sainfimin says he does not intend to ask for his job back with the school district, despite being found not guilty.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON-
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