Hillsborough bus driver who drove kids into pond pleads not guilty

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) —  An attorney for Lenoir Sainfimin, the man who was behind the wheel when a Hillsborough County school bus plunged into a pond in September, pleaded not guilty on his behalf to a charge of careless driving in court Tuesday morning. The attorney, Chris Edwards, also asked to subpoena unedited surveillance video from the bus. The only video the attorneys and the media received cuts off after Sainfimin fumbles around and before the bus plunges into the water.

“I want to know who had that video, who downloaded it, who took care of it,” Edwards said. “I want to know who had their hands on it.”

According to Hillsborough County deputies, on September 17th, Lenoir Sainfimin was speeding when he tried to hit the brake but also punched the gas and drove the bus into a pond with 27 kids on board. No one was badly hurt. Students frantically swam to safety in the Northwest Hillsborough County neighborhood.

In September, Sainfimin’s wife, Debbie, told 8 On Your Side, “Of course the bus is going to go fast because there is no brake. If you’re driving and there’s no brake, you’re going to go fast.” Edwards also told 8 on Your Side in court Tuesday she maintains the bus malfunctioned.

During a news conference, Sheriff’s Office investigators said the brakes were working just fine. “We brought in an independent mechanic and we were unable to replicate any kind of mechanical failure on the bus, so then we began pulling video footage from inside the bus,” Major Chad Chronister said.

Sainfimin was not in court Tuesday for the arraignment. The next court date is March 1. The judge plans to listen to witness testimony and determine the verdict.

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