Monday, April 25, 2005

WaPo conflates two school bus accidents

The subtitle of the article Second Child Dies of Injuries From Bus Crash from the April 21 edition of the WaPo is School's Driver Charged In Unrelated Accident. I don't mean to minimize the tragedy of the deaths of Harrison Orosco, 7, and Lilibeth Gomez, 9, who died from their injuries in the school bus accident last week, but this blog is about "monitoring how Islam is subverting public institutions (media, politics, business, schools, and religious organizations) in Northern Virginia and the greater DC metro area": for that reason, I will be focusing on the unrelated incident.

"In a separate incident in Alexandria yesterday, a private school bus with faulty brakes and bald tires crashed, but none of the 34 students aboard was injured. Police said the driver should not have been behind the wheel."

"In yesterday's crash of the private school bus, the driver, Abdelrazeg Abdalla, 31, of Falls Church, was charged with several counts, including operating the Islamic Saudi Academy bus on a suspended license."

"Investigators said Abdalla's driving privileges had been suspended at 12:01 a.m. yesterday because of insurance-related issues. He was fired by school administrators shortly after the charges -- including citations for reckless driving and driving a vehicle with faulty equipment -- were issued.

"They determined that the bus had little or no brakes at all and that the tires were in fact bald," said Alexandria Police Capt. John Crawford, adding that investigators found skid marks to suggest that Abdalla tried to apply the brakes.

The chain-reaction crash, in which two other drivers sustained minor injuries, occurred as the school bus ferrying students to the Islamic Saudi Academy failed to stop as it traveled south down a hill on North Quaker Lane near Duke Street. The bus struck a Honda Civic, causing a chain-reaction crash involving the bus and three cars.

Police said Abdalla told them he was unable to stop the vehicle as traffic slowed. State police towed the bus to a maintenance lot for examination."

Virginia State Police determined that the bus was unsafe to drive and said it would remain out of service until the problems were repaired.

David Kovilik, director of education for the Fairfax County academy, said the bus was not part of the fleet's normal daily rotation, calling it "a spare."

He said that the bus passed its Virginia state inspection in July and that it was subject to daily mechanical checks as well as monthly preventive maintenance.

"I looked at the bus [after the crash], and the tire tread was thin, and on one axle the brake was worn down to the metal," Kovilik said. "The other three tires had functioning brakes."

Kovilik said Abdalla was hired as a driver in August after a comprehensive background check that he said included a search for any past convictions and "points on his license."

But a check of court records in Virginia revealed seven past charges, including several traffic violations for speeding and crossing a double yellow line. Several of the charges had been dismissed.

Abdalla also had a misdemeanor conviction in Fairfax for abducting his estranged wife and 3-month-old daughter at knifepoint. He had originally been charged with felony kidnapping, but friends and family -- including his wife -- wrote letters of support to the court on Abdalla's behalf, and he agreed to plead guilty in May 2003, after nearly three months in jail, to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and battery.

After his release, Abdalla was picked up by Department of Homeland Security officials and detained for about six months, according to court records. It could not be determined why he was detained.

A phone number for Abdalla could not be found yesterday.

Kovilik said Abdalla's firing was based solely on his driving the school bus without a valid license. He said he was stunned by news that Abdalla had a court record.

"Oh no, no, no!" he said. "I'm going to revisit this."

--- End of article ---


1. The Washington Post no longer has on its web site an important story about the hiring practices of The Islamic Saudi Academy, owned and operated by the nation of Saudi Arabia and alma mater of Ahmed Abu Ali, arrested on national-security charges. Why did story about the school's bus accident disappear from the Post web site? Did CAIR or a similar group see to it that the article was removed?
2. Exactly what are the hiring practices of the Islamic Saudi Academy?
3. Are children and the general public endangered by the bus-fleet operations of the Islamic Saudi Academy?
4. What is the school-license status of the Islamic Saudi Academy?
5. Who are the friends who influenced the court to reduce the bus driver's previous charge of felony kidnapping to a misdemeanor?
6. Why is anyone ever detained by Homeland Security allowed to have the responsibility for transporting children? Not to mention the knife-point kidnapping charge?

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