CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield woman is pleading with the county to ‘do the right thing’ after she said a school bus driver hit her car and drove off.
Gabby Sergi said it happened on Country Spring Lane on the afternoon of September 18, while she was working in a home as an autism therapist.
“I heard my client’s mom yell and say, ‘Gabby a bus hit you!’ recalled Sergi.
“I happen to come out the playroom and I was looking out the window and thinking look at this big bus coming down the street,” said a witness. “It was backing up and I said oh, it’s going to back up into the neighbor’s yard and turn around. Then I saw Gabby’s car shake and I was like I think the bus just hit your car.”
Sergi immediately ran outside as Chesterfield County School bus 211 was pulling off.
“I saw the bus leaving and that’s when I went to look at the back of my car not really believing it yet and that’s when I saw the dent on my car,” said Sergi.
“My neighbor across the street came over. He was telling her the bus hit your car and she just drove away,” said the witness. “It was bad.”
“I decided to call the cops and make a claim that the bus left," said Sergi. "It finally came back after the cops called Chesterfield County and they came back with the bus and the transport lady."
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the CBS 6 Problem Solvers were denied the 911 call. The county cited such records are exempt from disclosure because they relate to a criminal investigation or prosecution. However, the CBS 6 Problem Solvers obtained the CAD record from Gabby’s 911 call.
Incident notes show that police were dispatched for a hit and run at 4:36 p.m., but the Chesterfield County School Board Assistant Director of Transportation who was on scene canceled the police response advising she would call police the following day if needed after reviewing video footage from the bus.
A Chesterfield Police spokesperson said they did not have the authority to do that and they are looking into what happened.
In the meantime, Sergi is responsible for $1,109.50 worth of damage after the county denied her claim.
“Very frustrating because it’s not even a big dent and I just thought this would be an easy situation in being solved but I guess it’s not,” said Sergi. “I think they should pay for it. I mean I have two witnesses, so I think that’s enough proof right there. They both saw the bus back up and my car shake.”
“The findings of an investigation led by the Chesterfield County risk management department, which included examination of video footage and measurements taken of vehicle damage relative to the height of the bus, do not substantiate the claim that Chesterfield County school bus 211 collided with the vehicle,” county spokesperson Dave Goode said.
The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to Chesterfield County Public Schools. The district asked us to refer our questions to Chesterfield Police.
Chesterfield Police said it was an ongoing criminal hit and run investigation.
The CBS 6 Problem Solvers also requested the bus video and was provided the following response from Chesterfield Public Schools spokesperson Shawn Smith:
“The bus video (23 seconds) has been reviewed and a student can be seen on the bus. As such, the bus video becomes an educational record of that student riding the bus and is protected, and may be withheld in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the equivalent provision under state law, 2.2-3705.4(1) of the Code of Virginia. It is the practice of this school division, and most if not all public school divisions, not to distribute publicly videos taken on buses that show students.”
“That bus hit her car,” said the witness. “I know what I saw and I’m not going to change my story.”
“I know I’m not lying, and I know my witnesses both aren’t lying to me, so I want them to do what’s right,” said Sergi. “I’m not paying for it because I didn’t do this."
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