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    Troopers cite driver in school bus crash

    School Board officials say the driver will appear before a committee, which will decide whether he can continue driving a bus.

    By CHRIS TISCH

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 9, 2001


    LARGO -- Authorities have cited the school bus driver involved in a crash last week that sent eight people, including three students, to hospitals.

    Florida Highway Patrol troopers cited Nevel E. Parks, 54, with violation of right of way in connection with the crash Thursday at Indian Rocks and Honeysuckle roads, said Lt. Sterling King. Troopers said Parks turned in front of a green Dodge Shadow that had the right of way.

    Since 1994, Parks has been involved in five other crashes while behind the wheel of a Pinellas County school bus. He has been found at fault in two of those crashes, including an accident in February 2000 in which he was cited for improperly changing lanes and striking another vehicle, state accident records state.

    He also was cited with careless driving in 1994 after he rear-ended a vehicle with a bus, records show.

    Parks also has been involved in two crashes in his personal vehicle since 1991. He was cited in one of those, a January 1991 crash in which two people were injured. He was cited for careless driving, records state.

    School Board officials said Parks is still working for the school system, but is not driving a bus while drug tests are pending. He will appear before a safe driver committee, which will determine whether he can continue driving a bus.

    Parks could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

    None of the people in the crash last week were seriously injured.

    Troopers said Parks of 3427 21st St. N, St. Petersburg, was turning from northbound Indian Rocks Road onto Oakwood Drive when he violated the right of way of Ignacio Mercado, 24, the driver of the Dodge Shadow.

    Mercado of Largo and his four passengers were transported to local hospitals. There were 27 students aboard the bus, three of whom were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries, troopers said.

    - Times researcher Catherine Wos contributed to this report.

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