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Driver ticketed in school bus accident

A Pasco County school bus driver was ticketed Tuesday after improperly backing into another vehicle.

Brenda Klinkenberger, 43, was transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point after school bus No. N-237 backed into her Chrysler at 4:20 p.m. Tuesday on Oakwood Drive near Peter Max Lane, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

On Wednesday, bus driver Raymond LaPalme, 71, was temporarily reassigned from transporting students pending the results of a drug test.

Mike Park, director of transportation for the school district, said drug testing is a standard procedure any time someone involved in a school bus crash requires medical treatment.

Three Mary Giella Elementary students were aboard the bus at the time of the incident, according to an FHP report. None of the children were injured.

Roy Zweeres, who said he is a friend of Klinkenberger's, told the Times that she was transported after the crash as a precaution because of prior health problems. Klinkenberger was treated and released, according to the hospital. Also in the vehicle was Tiffany Arnold, 21, who Zweeres said is pregnant. Arnold was unharmed, according to the FHP.

LaPalme has been driving with the district since 1997. A committee of 10 people will review the details of the accident before making a recommendation for possible disciplinary action.

"The employee's been with us a long time," Park said. "I'd be shocked if anything came of the drug testing."

Rebecca Catalanello covers education in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6241 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6241. Her e-mail address is rcatalanellosptimes.com.

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