Driver's wife: School bus broken before crash

Posted at 11:04 PM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 23:04:32-04

The wife of the school bus driver who was fired and charged with careless driving says the bus was doomed long before he stepped behind the wheel.

Authorities say Lenoir Sainfimin was driving too fast when he crashed the Hillsborough County school bus into a pond with 27 students on board.

"Something was wrong with that bus," said Marie Simun, Sainfimin's wife. "That bus is 21 years old and almost 300-thousand miles on it."

Simun tells ABC Action News that her husband was ordered to pick up the bus from the maintenance garage the morning of the crash. It was a different bus than what he's used to and he knew from the start that something was wrong.

He even called his wife to tell her.

"He said, 'sweetie, they gave me a different bus but I can tell this one is not so good because of the way it sounds,'" she said.

Hillsborough County investigators said they found no evidence of mechanical issues with the bus.

Instead, they say it was operator error that cause the accident -- that Sainfimin was going 48 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone.

His wife said that's because the brakes didn't work.

Sainfimin was terminated just a couple hours after learning he was getting charged with careless driving.

"All the neighbors say your husband is a hero, he saved my kid's life, and today they fire him? One day he's a hero and the next day they drop him down?"

Sainfimin plans on fighting not only the charge of careless driving but also his termination from the district.

In the meantime, his family is left scrambling, trying to figure out how to get by.

"No we're not going to be okay. I can't afford the bills myself. I can't," she said.

Saimfimin wants answers from the school -- mainly why was the bus in the maintenance garage in the first place and what kind of work was being done?

Their first course of action is to find an attorney they can afford.