Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TOP STORY > >SBus driver gets trial postponed

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Unbeknownst to the prosecution or defense, an onboard video tape and electronic record of bus speed, braking and other information is available in the case of a former Cabot school bus driver who allegedly tried to transport students home from a debate match in Little Rock while she was drunk.

Little Rock Traffic Judge Vic Flemming continued the trial of Robin Gail Clark, 46, to an unspecified date to allow both sides to subpoena and review the tape and electronic data, according to Teresa Belew, executive director of Arkansas Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Belew was on hand to monitor the event.

The tape has been under lock at the office of the Cabot school administration, according to Superintendent Tony Thurman.

“We told the police about it the night it happened,” Thurman said. But no one ever contacted the district for the records.

“All our buses have video tapes and a record of speed and braking, and whether warning lights were activated,” Thurman said.

“Both sides have subpoenaed copies of the tape.”

“We knew the court date was today,” he said. “We were calling to find out why no one was subpoenaed, not even the teacher involved or the principal.”

“I called myself, trying to get information. We had two people dressed for court today and we would have sent them down without a subpoena,” Thurman said. “We are very frustrated.”

The Cabot students were attending a tournament at Central and were being picked up to go home around 9:30 p.m. when teachers and other drivers noticed Clark’s erratic behavior.

A teacher decided not to allow the driver to transport any of the students and the bus remained parked at LRCH, according to a release from the Cabot School District. “Students were on the bus, but the teacher had already made the decision to not allow the driver to leave the scene. She (the teacher) contacted the police before the bus left Central High School,” Thurman said.

A Little Rock police officer was called and performed a field sobriety test on Clark.

A district administrator transported the students back to Cabot.

Clark was taken into custody.

Once at the jail, Clark became increasingly angry and threatened to sue and “have jobs” of everyone involved, the report reads.
She blew a .073 on the Breathalyzer machine and then grabbed the ticket and attempted to destroy it.

Clark reportedly has two past DWIs, one in 1997 and another in 2001. A background check had not returned any problems with her record when she was hired in August, Thurman said at the time of the incident.

Clark was suspended and submitted her resignation in the immediate wake of the incident.