School bus driver faces charges in Ranchos wreck

A 68-year-old Douglas County substitute school bus driver, accused of causing an accident in which 11 children were injured, is to appear in East Fork Justice Court on April 11 on three misdemeanors.

Louis John Bergandi of Minden was charged with failure to obey a traffic control device, operating a school district vehicle for more than 10 hours in a 15-hour period without an appropriate rest period, and driving without due care.

On Feb. 1, Bergandi waived a court appearance and pleaded not guilty through his attorney Tod Young.

Superintendent Carol Lark said Friday that Bergandi has not driven for the school district since the Oct. 19, 2006, accident, which occurred as he drove a bus load of children from Topaz Ranch Estates to Minden Elementary School.

According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, Bergandi was northbound on Highway 395 when he collided with a Ford Excursion making a left turn from Pinenut Road at 8:34 a.m. Six children in the bus and five children in the SUV suffered minor injuries.

The criminal complaint, filed in December, alleges that Bergandi ran a red light and did not slow down as he approached the intersection.

According to records, he had driven a school bus until 10:30 p.m. the night before and did not have 10 hours of rest as required by law before he returned to work the day of the accident.


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