A 55-year-old former Derby bus driver faced a judge on Wednesday after police say he was driving as many as 30 Shelton intermediate students home from school and falling asleep at the wheel.
A twelve-year-old student wants to know why Paul Pixley would allegedly put her and her classmates in danger earlier this month.
"He hit the curb and we just kept driving, and then everyone started getting kind of confused," the student told NBC Connecticut.
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The girl and other students captured Pixley on camera appearing to doze-off at the wheel.
"When we were in Huntington Center, he almost hit the back of the bus, everyone started yelling and screaming wake up and he started yelling back at us, that he's not sleeping," the student told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.
Pixley is accused of falling asleep nearly a dozen times in little more than two hours, according to the police report.
According to the arrest report, Pixley admitted to being on methadone and taking 80 mg prior to his shift starting that morning. After initially denying being asleep several times, he confessed he maybe shouldn't have been driving, one reason being, he may have taken NyQuil instead of DayQuil.
The girl called and texted her parents. They contacted police and the school. Her father was even able to follow the bus, until police arrived. They determined there was probable cause to make an arrest.
"I was getting really scared and confused, and really worried if he crashed and if anyone was going to get hurt," the student added.
The girl's mother Vienna DiPave is proud of the way her daughter handled the situation. "I'm just happy nothing happened to her or any of the other kids on the bus."
Lt. Rob Kozlowski with the Shelton Police Department confirmed that when officers arrived they had concerns about Pixley driving.
"It was determined his license was seized and he shouldn't be driving per opinion or the officer."
"If he was on a methadone program, why was he hired? after the bus was pulled over they definitely should have done a tox screening," DiPave added.
Greg Walter, Vice President of the bus company, Landmark Student Transportation, stressed that they do background checks on all employees and that Pixley's pre-employment background test and drug test came back clean.
"We are cooperating with everyone, we want to know what happened. Our number one priority is safety and if it can't be done safely we don't want to do it," Walter said.
Walter said police told them the arresting officer believed Pixley was having some kind of medical issue.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet released the following statement:
"On December 16, we were alerted by parents and we immediately contacted the police and the bus company, Landmark. We were able to get the bus stopped, removed the driver from the bus, and his license was taken. We have been in touch with officials from the bus company and conducted interviews with students. In addition, we have had daily contact with the police department and have shared video records with them to contribute to their investigation. The driver was arraigned today and returned to jail. He will never drive in Shelton ever again. We have some concerns regarding Landmark’s hiring practices and have asked our attorneys to review our contract with them. We are concerned about Landmark’s hiring and monitoring of their employees and want a full review. We intend to meet with Landmark’s regional leader next week to talk about changing practices to ensure the safety of our students and possibly take other actions."