DPS fires school bus driver for talking on phone when bus crashed

DENVER – A school bus driver is no longer employed with Denver Public Schools after a crash in the South Park Hill neighborhood on Dec. 19.

A school district spokesman said the driver, identified by the Denver Police Department as Nykeshia Gilliam, was talking on her phone when she crashed a school bus into a parked SUV.

There were 18 children on board the bus at the time. No injuries were reported.

Surveillance video from inside the bus shows Gilliam with earbuds in her ears while using her cellphone, according to school district officials.

“We opened our door and we saw the bus crashed into my neighbor’s car,” neighbor Katie Wall said. “They actually took the bus driver off first and then the kids filed into our driveway."

Wall witnessed the aftermath of the collision near Newport Street and East 19th Avenue. She said she came outside shortly after first responders arrived.

Gilliam, 32, of Aurora had been with Denver Public Schools for two years at the time of the crash.

She told police she fell asleep before the collision, according to the crash report. Police listed a violation of careless driving in the report.

Gilliam did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

A Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check shows Gilliam was arrested in 2007 by Denver police on a misdemeanor theft complaint.

DPS said it performs background checks on potential employees and considers misdemeanor convictions on a case-by-case basis.

The students on the bus, currently on winter break, are enrolled at Denver School of the Arts near Quebec Street and Montview Boulevard.