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Pinellas fires bus driver who hit another bus



Billie Combs was a school bus driver who had a problem with red lights. Notably, she did not stop for them.

On Jan. 13, 2012, Combs's bus collided into the trunk of a blue Honda Accord stopped at a red light in St. Petersburg. On May 1, she rammed her bus into another stopped vehicle: a second school bus. Both had children on board, as young as eight.

She tried a new trick on Aug. 20, hitting a parked car in Gulfport. 

The Pinellas school board fired Combs this week for accruing more than 12 points on her record in a single year. Combs had actually racked up 16; before her third accident, she was just shy of the threshold at 11. Two phone numbers listed for Combs were both disconnected.

Only two bus drivers have been fired since last school year for receiving 12 or more points in a year, schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said, although bus drivers can be fired for other reasons, too. 

In a Feb. 12 memo to the School Board, superintendent Michael Grego said that he was recommending Combs be fired not only for exceeding 12 points, but for "failures to perform the duties of the position" and "failures to correct performance deficiencies."

Combs can appeal the decision.

~Lisa Gartner, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:33pm]


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