Former Bus Driver Sentenced To One Year In Jail Over Death Of Third-Grader

Jan 5, 2018

A former western Massachusetts bus driver has been sentenced to a year in jail in connection to the 2016 death of a third-grader.

A Northampton judge Friday sentenced Tendzin Parsons to one year in Hampshire County House of Correction.

Authorities say he was behind the wheel of the bus when 9-year-old Summer Steele from Plainfield, Massachusetts, was getting off the bus near her home and became caught in the door.

She was dragged a short distance before the bus ran over her. She later died from her injuries.

In addition to jail time, the conviction carries an automatic 15-year loss of license.

Parsons, who is now 71 years old, drove for FM Kuzmeskus, which operates more than 100 school buses in western Massachusetts.

FM Kuzmeskus shared a statement with NEPR, below.

Since the incident, FM Kuzmeskus has instituted a new safety improvement initiative—above and beyond what is currently required by Massachusetts state regulations— to reprogram all of its fleet’s door switches so that the bus doors no longer automatically close, thus helping to provide another level of passenger safety.

The driver involved in the tragic accident, Tendzin Parsons, was immediately terminated by FM Kuzmeskus after the accident, and pled guilty today to a charge of negligent motor vehicle homicide. He was sentenced to one year in jail.

FM Kuzmeskus wishes to again convey its heartfelt sympathy to the family of Summer Steele and remains deeply grieved for this terrible loss of life.