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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO | Community News Focus

School Bus Driver Saved Kids, Loses Pay

June 20, 1997|LISA RICHARDSON

When a truck came speeding toward his school bus filled with children last year, driver Rassam Taherzadeh did what he thought best: He threw the bus, which was idling at a stop light at Camino Capistrano and Calle Lorenzo, into reverse and backed up.

The bus damaged a car behind it, but the truck narrowly missed the bus and no one was hurt.

Parents of children on the Capistrano Unified School District bus wrote him letters filled with heartfelt thanks.

But the state Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended Taherzadeh's license for 30 days.

Taherzadeh's empty bus had been in a minor collision five months before, and although no complaint had been made to the agency about that accident, the two incidents together led to his suspension, DMV spokesman William Madison said.

"Initially it was recommended that his license be suspended for 90 days," Madison said. "But apparently another hearing officer recommended it be reduced to a 30-day suspension because of the mitigating circumstances.

The suspension, which started Wednesday, means Taherzadeh will lose about $300 a week in income.

"I feel that I did my best," Taherzadeh said. "On my mind was the safety of the kids and that's the decision I made. Any other time it happens I would do the same move because that was the safe thing to do."

Taherzadeh has the right to seek a court review of the suspension, but said he does not plan to do so.

"I'm done fighting this, but it leaves me uneasy," he said. "This is going to be on my reputation and go into my file forever when all I was trying to do was keep the kids safe."

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