Student's video prompts investigation into whether Hillsborough school bus driver was texting (w/ video)

Published Oct. 2, 2013

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County school bus driver has been taken off her route pending an investigation into a claim that she was texting while driving last week.

The driver, whose name was not released by the district Friday, was videotaped by a student on her bus who said she was trying to catch the driver cursing.

"She wanted proof, to show me this lady was constantly cursing at her," said Venus Cotto-Silva, 40, of Tampa, whose 14-year-old daughter, Adelaida, used a cellphone to videotape the bus driver on the way home from Walker Middle School on Sept. 13.

"She got different proof instead," Cotto-Silva said. "I was highly upset."

The video shows the bus driver holding a phone in her right hand while grasping the steering wheel with her left hand.

She appears to tap the phone with her thumb while driving.

Cotto-Silva spoke to a reporter at WFTS-Ch. 28 earlier this week, and the reporter showed the video to Hillsborough County schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.

The video has prompted an investigation, but Hegarty said Friday that no determination has been made about whether the driver violated district policy.

"We have not reached any conclusion over whether she's texting or not," Hegarty said. "She's been taken off her bus route. She has not been suspended or fired."

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or