News from the Department of Public Irony–Texas Division

The Texas Department are on the hunt for those who violate school bus safety laws. Troopers are “urging drivers to obey state law by not passing any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign. In addition, Texas Highway Patrol troopers will be enhancing their efforts to catch those drivers who break the law,” according to a DPS Press Release.

 “The moment when students are entering or exiting the bus is one of the most dangerous times of a student’s trip; and drivers who pass a stopped school bus create a potentially deadly situation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.

Director McCraw couldn’t be more right, except the dangers to students aren’t just drivers who pass stopped buses with its warning lights flashing.

A Southeast Texas school bus driver was arrested by DPS troopers after she wrecked a bus in which the children had fortunately departed, according to KJAS radio in Jasper, Texas.

The 47-year-old driver was taken to a local hospital where a blood sample was taken. The radio station, quoting a DPS official, said troopers were suspicious that Kirbyville school district employee Angel Shepherd Tharp was drunk on alcoholic beverages and perhaps intoxicated on other substances. She allegedly drove her bus into a ditch after dropping off the kids on her route. Tharp was charged with DUI and released in lieu of $1,000 bond, the radio station said.

A statement released by Richard Hazlewood, Kirbyville school district superintendent and described on his school Web profile as ” … a virtual superman of organization, inspiring all those who work with him,” said the school bus driver had been ” … relieved of her duties.” Does that mean she was fired? Placed on leave with pay? Suspended without pay? Well, perhaps the superintendent can organize his thoughts when he gives his school board a report on the incident. And hopefully, they will leave the kryptonite at home.

Kirbyville is about 110 miles northeast of Houston.