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Westport Bus Driver Charged in Weston Crash

A bus driver for Westport schools was charged with 24 counts of reckless endangerment after falling asleep at the wheel while transporting children through Weston in November, police said.

James Torti, 46, of Bridgeport, was also charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain proper lane. The November bus accident took place on Lyons Plain Road near North Avenue and left Torti with a broken collarbone. Two children sustained minor injuries. A school bus monitor, Geraldine Allen, was also on board at the time of the accident, police said.

Torti was working from 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. as a loader for UPS and told police he was "physically and mentally exhausted" from working long hours, according to Weston police.

Police said Torti told them he was on pain medication at the time of the accident. In December, he told police that he could not recall telling them he was on medication. Police records indicate that Torti's toxicology results were negative.

Torti reportedly told police he had ordered coffee with a shot of espresso, which made him feel jittery on the day of the accident. He said he believed he blacked out instead of dozing off and that he had never blacked out before, according to the police report.

Torti's endangerment charge is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted on all 24 counts, he faces up to 12 years in jail and $24,000 in fines. Torti's arraignment is scheduled for April 5 at Norwalk Superior Court.

Do you think school bus drivers should be allowed to work two jobs? How do you feel about an exhausted man driving children? Leave a comment below.

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