Fired bus driver’s boss speaks out, wants cameras

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The boss of a school bus driver pulled over for road rage says there’s a way to avoid these kinds of problems: Put cameras on the bus.

School districts around the country have them, but if you take a look inside Albuquerque Public School’s buses, you won’t find any of those cameras.

“You just can’t predict these things,” Michael Herrera said.

She wasn’t driving any children home from school Tuesday. Instead, Linda Barreto faced a judge.

“She’s been here about eight years, never really had any problems with her,” Herrera said.

Herrera was Barreto’s boss. He’s one of the owner’s at Herrera’s School Buses which has a contract with APS.

The 51-year-old was arrested yesterday after a road rage incident in the South Valley on one of Herrera’s buses. Deputies say she also had powerful painkillers on her without a prescription. She also failed a field sobriety test.

“Linda was not a bad driver, OK,” Herrera said. “I don’t know what made her snap.”

Herrera can’t help but wonder, would putting cameras on buses curb these kinds of problems?

“We had video cameras on a couple of school buses we were trying them out.”

That was back in the 90s.

“They didn’t last very long,” Herrera said.

Herrera says parents were complaining.

“It was beneficial because the kids behaved on the bus because they knew they were being filmed and the driver knew, too, and it settled things down.”

Over in Rio Rancho, the district has put cameras in all of its buses, one in the front and one in the back.

“I hear from their safety people over there that it helps with discipline on the bus and takes care of the driver if he’s not doing what he needs to be doing,” Herrera said.

Herrera says he can’t foot the bill alone and that’s a big road block.

“When you have like 150, 175 buses, it’d be hard to put cameras in each bus.”

He would like to see APS help out, but says the idea has taken a back seat.

“Not for years, no, there hasn’t been any conversation started at all about this,” Herrera said.

Cameras aren’t cheap. It can cost up to $1,000 per bus.

KRQE News 13 asked APS why it doesn’t have cameras on its buses, but the district officials said they didn’t have an answer Tuesday, saying they’d need to dig into this a little more.

As for Linda Barreto, she’s still behind bars on drug charges and child abuse because there were kids on the bus when she had her road rage meltdown.

Deputies are waiting on results from her blood tests to see if she was drunk or high behind the wheel.

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