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Utah school bus driver charged in death of student

Published July 3, 2014 4:47 pm

Courts • He failed to activate red lights, signals and stop sign, according to charges.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former Jordan School District bus driver was charged Thursday with misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and failure to signal in connection with the death of a 10-year-old South Jordan girl earlier this year.

The driver, Troy Edward Daniels, 44, of Kearns, has been summoned to appear in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City on Sept. 3.

The victim, Seleny Crosby, was riding on Daniels' bus on the afternoon of April 30, when he pulled over on the shoulder of 4000 West to let students off at Cedar Wood Lane (10570 South), according to South Jordan police.

When the girl exited the southbound bus, she immediately ran in front of Daniels' bus to cross 4000 West, and was hit by a second southbound bus, police said.

She died two days later at a hospital.

When Daniels pulled over, he "deviated from his normal routine" when he "activated his 4-way hazard flashers while offloading students," but "chose not to activate his red lights and signals or stop sign in the lane of travel because he needed to hand out flyers to the students as they offloaded," according to a probable cause statement filed with the court.

South Jordan police officer Sam Winkler said it was because of the flyers that Daniels deviated from his routine by stopping on the shoulder of the road, rather than remain in his traffic lane.

"He admitted that normally, he would be in traffic with the stop sign out and lights activated," Winkler said. "But this time, he pulled to the side of the road ... because he didn't want to delay traffic [while he handed out the flyers]."

The flyers were notices to students that the number of their bus was changing.

The same bus is often used at multiple schools and the number, which is posted in the window, lets student know which one to board, Winkler said.

Winkler added that Daniels admitted that his actions that day were a deviation from what he had been taught and trained to do while offloading students.

Daniels told police that in addition to other safety precautions, he normally waits for traffic to stop before offloading students, according to court documents.

The 4000 West roadway has one southbound and one northbound lane of travel, as well as a center turn lane. The shoulders on each side on the road are wide enough to accommodate a vehicle.

To get to her home, Seleny had to cross 4000 West.

About seven students got off the bus before Seleny, who had to cross 4000 West to reach her home, according to court documents.

The driver of the other bus told police that she saw Daniels' bus pulled to the side of the roadway, but because his red light signals and stop sign were not activated, she did not believe he was offloading any students.

She said she was driving below the speed limit as she started to pass Daniels' bus. She said she saw the girl run out in front of her bus and immediately tried to brake and steer away from the girl, but was unable to avoid a collision, according to court documents.

Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. The second charge, failure to signal when school bus is stopped, is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in jail.

Daniels, who had been a bus driver since August 2011, resigned a few days after the accident, according to Jordan School District spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf.

She said the flyers are one of many ways that students and parents are informed of bus route changes.

"It's important to get it into the hands of the students," Riesgraf said of the flyers, especially for parents don't have computers at home.

A statement released Thursday by the school district said, "Our hearts are broken over the terrible accident that took the life of Seleny Crosby on May 2. This tragedy has deeply impacted her family, friends, classmates and community and we continue to feel a loss with them.

"Jordan School District has cooperated fully with all agencies involved throughout this investigation in an effort to prevent anything like this from ever happening again in our community."

shunt@sltrib.com