Bus company JCPS deemed unsafe resurfaces under new owner

Buses on the lot of DC Tours
Buses on the lot of DC Tours
Official paperwork to dissolve Commonwealth Bus Service
Official paperwork to dissolve Commonwealth Bus Service

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Parts of a charter bus company deemed unsafe by Jefferson County Public Schools administrators has resurfaced under different ownership.

DC Tours in Park DuValle bought at least two buses from Commonwealth Bus Service, the company responsible for a June 11 crash that injured dozens of Louisville high school students. Michael Goad, the owner of the bus that crashed, is now working for DC Tours as a driver.

The hire and bus purchases are legal and DC Tours' co-owner said the company had "nothing to hide" about its safety. DC Tours does business with JCPS as a contracted charter bus carrier.

Commonwealth is going out of business Saturday, according to a document filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office. Previously, JCPS administrators decided to drop the company as a charter carrier for its student field trips.

The Commonwealth bus carrying Waggener High School students back from a college visit in June blew a tire, causing it to crash into the median on Interstate 64. An accident report revealed the tire that failed was 11 years old.

Commonwealth owned 12 other buses and sold three of them to DC Tours, while Goad is leasing a bus to his new company, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation who spoke with WAVE 3 News on the condition of anonymity.

Marvin Cundiff, the co-owner of DC Tours, declined an on-camera interview but said the transaction was more limited, and only involved two buses.

"They've been inspected, and we're doing everything we're supposed to do," Cundiff said Tuesday. "(Commonwealth) was going out of business, so they had to sell their buses. They knew me, and they asked me, 'Would you be interested in buying a couple buses?'"

Cundiff confirmed that Goad is now working for him as a bus driver, and said he was not in charge of inspections.

"He has an excellent driving record," Cundiff said. "He still has the credentials, he's done everything required to be a driver."

Ben Jackey, a spokesman for JCPS, said district administrators are aware of the situation and would only be concerned if Goad starts inspecting buses. Jackey said JCPS will now require all of its charter bus contractors, including DC Tours, to provide inspection records every 30 days.

Goad wasn't available for comment. Two DC Tours buses sat in his backyard Tuesday, although a bus he owns was no longer there.

Cundiff said the former Commonwealth buses have been inspected and will be available for charter trips early next year.

Commonwealth's owners filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's office on Nov. 15 indicated they had decided to close at the end of the month. It's likely they made the decision earlier. Cundiff said the owners approached him in the summer about buying the Commonwealth buses.

No one answered the phone at Commonwealth's offices Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

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