1011 Investigates StarTran
StarTran operations superintendent Mike Weston says his 100 plus StarTran drivers spent roughly 156,000 hours on the road in 2017. Given how much time they spend behind the wheel, he says StarTran has an excellent record. "We had last year a total of 34 preventable accidents,” said Weston.
One of those accidents involved a driver hitting a woman who was using a crosswalk. The driver was later ticketed, her third ticket while driving a bus in a little more than a year.
According to accident reports, a different driver in 2017 got in trouble for how he handled an accident after it happened. In the police report, officers wrote that the driver told them he did not realize he had sideswiped a parked car. But dashcam video shows the bus shake when it hits the car. Police reported that they also heard the driver in the video swear and say "I've got to call that in." Lincoln police then issued two tickets for negligent driving and leaving the scene.
The City of Lincoln told 1011 this was a personnel issue and they could not comment on the case. According to court records, the charges in this case were dismissed. The driver was instead found guilty of careless driving.
1011 also found a different driver who received seven tickets in the last five years, including one for negligent driving. The driver was placed on probation for 6 months in 2014 and again in 2015 for 60 days. When asked if the driver was disciplined, the city said it could not comment because it was a personnel issue.
On top of finding drivers with several tickets, 1011 also found one driver who was convicted of assault. The city again told 1011 it could not comment, citing it as a personnel issue. When Weston was asked if an employee with a misdemeanor conviction could continue working for the city, he said, "It depends on the circumstances."
While the city would not go into specifics on any of these cases, the city did tell 1011 one driver retired years after his assault conviction and the other two men currently drive buses for the city.