The driver of a Baltimore school bus that collided head-on with a commuter bus last week, killing six and injuring 11 others, did not have a valid commercial driver’s license, investigators said.
Glenn Chappell was driving a school bus for Baltimore City Public Schools Nov. 1 when for unknown reasons the vehicle rammed the back of a Ford Mustang, struck a cement pillar, and veered into the oncoming lane where it collided with a Maryland Transit Administration bus.
The collision killed the drivers of both buses and four of the commuter bus passengers. Eleven others were hospitalized with crash injuries ranging from moderate to critical. There were no children on the school bus at the time.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has been investigating the crash alongside local police, has ruled out mechanical failure as a possible case.
So far, evidence points to the possibility that Mr. Chappell suffered a medical emergency, causing him to lose consciousness and control of the bus. Investigators determined that Mr. Chappell did not attempt to brake before colliding with the commuter bus
A police report states that Mr. Chappell lost control of his Buick LeSabre in Ellicott City, Md., in 2014. He told How County law enforcement authorities that he had taken seizure medication prior to that crash.
Two months before the Nov. 1 crash, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration had revoked Mr. Chappell’s privilege to operate commercial vehicles because he did not provide proof that he was in good health, as state law requires. That was the second time his commercial driving privileges had been revoked for failing to provide the required medical records.
Mr. Chappell was employed by AA Affordable Transportation, a company contracted by Baltimore City Public Schools to operate school buses. It is uncertain at this point whether AA Affordable transportation knew of Mr. Chappell’s medical status, but federal law requires employers to keep current medical certificates from a doctor certified to assess a driver’s fitness to operate a commercial vehicle.