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9Wants to Know: Bus driver with revoked permit drove high school students

8:41 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER- The owner of a bus company with a long history of violations and a revoked permit may be held in contempt of court for recently driving around students at two Aurora public high schools, a non-profit, and a child care company.

9Wants to Know found Bus Express owner Larry Holle at Denver District Court Thursday morning where he stood before a judge on a potential contempt of court violation. 

In 2005, a judge ordered Holle not to operate his company, Bus Express, unless he was in full compliance with permits and insurance requirements mandated by the state's Public Utilities Commission.

"I have operated under a lease agreement, with another company, so that made me legal," Holle told 9Wants to Know on Thursday. Documents obtained by 9Wants to Know show Holle recently transported children in buses for Rangeview and Hinkley High Schools in Aurora, Kids Adeventures, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. 

A court affidavit written up by a PUC investigator says Holle drove around the students at the high schools a handful of times in 2012. "The safety of our students and staff is a top priority in Aurora Public Schools. We want to reassure parents that we are no longer working with this company," a district spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Denver said they used Holle's company three times in 2012 and immediately severed ties with him after an investigator notified them about the problems.

At the time of this publication and broadcast, a spokesperson for Kids Adventures was unreachable for comment. A 9Wants to Know investigation into Bus Express reveals Holle has been cited by the Public Utilities Commission 74 times between 2003 and 2010. 

Some of the citations are for failing to get vehicles inspected, failure to keep maintenance records, and a failure to repair a defect. 9Wants to Know calculates Holle's fines have exceeded $50,000 over a seven year period. A search through a PUC database shows Holle's permit is currently revoked. Court documents filed by the PUC accuse Holle of being an unsafe company that puts the public and children at risk.

"Defendant Holle must be punished in a way that will reasonably ensure that he will not continue to scoff at the authority of this Court, blatantly defy Colorado law," a PUC court filing said. The PUC also accuses Holle of not having the proper insurance. Holle told 9Wants to Know he is not operating unsafe buses and that he has a $5-million dollar insurance policy. 

"I do drug screening and everything they do that they require. I've done everything that they require. I've been through the hoops before," Holle said. Holle will have to stand before a judge in April to explain why he shouldn't be held in contempt for violating the judge's order.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him
jeremy.jojola@9news.com

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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