Fired Votran driver says roaches caused accident


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A former bus driver for Votran, Volusia County's public transit system, is suing the company. She said she was unfairly fired.

Peg Bullaro claims roaches caused her to crash, after she warned her superiors there was an infestation.

A police report shows Bullaro's crash was a low-speed crash. Bullaro said she was parking the bus and was distracted by a roach when she bumped into a post.

Bullaro said she loves driving buses. She's a former school bus driver from New York and took a job driving buses for Votran in 2006.

"I loved the job," said Bullaro. "I loved working outside, and I loved dealing with the people."

She said there was one thing she didn't like about it: roaches.

Bullaro said she has a fear of the bugs. She said that on one bus in particular they were everywhere.

"Once in a while I would see a roach on a bus. This was not a roach, this was an infestation," said Bullaro.

Bullaro said that in December 2010 she was driving into the Earl Street Station in Daytona Beach. She said when she reached her hand toward the air brake to park the bus roaches ran across the handle.

"I almost touched them and freaked out," said Bullaro. "And [I] stepped on the gas."

She said that's when the bus struck the post. The police report indicates she was going 5 mph.

Some of those waiting at the bus stop Friday night told WFTV's Jeff Deal they see roaches on Votran buses.

"You can't sit on these two corner seats on the back, one left and one right," said one rider. "They come out the side and just be chilling on your shoulder."

Even though Bullaro claims that she complained about the roaches several times before and nothing was done, she said she was fired.

Now Bullaro is suing, alleging age discrimination.

The 66-year-old said she believes she was fired so Votran could hire someone younger, with less experience, to work for less money.

"I don't believe I should've been fired. To this day I don't think I should have been fired," said Bullaro.

A Votran representative told WFTV the company doesn't comment on personnel matters and couldn't comment on the lawsuit either.