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Stabbed bus driver's wife turns tragedy into advocacy

Courtesy: Lenhart Family{p}{/p}
Courtesy: Lenhart Family

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Earlier this year, Pasco school bus driver, Richard Lenhart, was fatally stabbed while driving a bus of 35 children in broad daylight.

This tragedy left bus drivers and parents across the country in fear.

Today, Richard's wife, Nancy, took the first step in her journey towards improving bus safety. She gave us details about how she plans to tackle these safety protocols with decision makers.

Richard Lenhart is described by his loved ones as a family man who loved his grandchildren dearly. He had a heart for young children, so much so that he risked his life saving 35 children on his school bus the day he was fatally stabbed.

"What could have been different that day that could have made a difference for him?" This is the question Nancy is putting to the test as she took her first step to speak with vendors who can make these changes possible.

"I'm looking to upgrade some safety features on the buses, one is an upgraded type of quick release seatbelt system, the other is an alarm type system that they can put on the steering wheel which would set an alarm off outside of the bus alerting people outside of the bus that something was happening," said Nancy Lenhart. "It would also automatically send signals to the bus dispatch facility and to the police department carrying a GPS location of the bus."

Nancy is accompanied by Rep. Brad Klippert who plans to help her move the process along.

"This does not have to be a long journey," mentioned Rep. Klippert, 8th District. "If the transportation production people will listen to us and work together with us to help develop the quick release seatbelt and also the emergency button, and if Labored Industries and the Crime Victims Compensation will simply do their job, this could be handled quickly and easily."

Nancy told Action News that she and Richard had an agreement that if something bad happened, they'd immediately figure out how they could find a solution to make it better. The implementation of these safe practices would help protect bus drivers and children from a tragedy like this striking again.

"I truly believe that God placed Richard there that day because he knew what was coming, he knew that Richard had the strength to do what had to be done that day, I always have to remind myself because of that, there's 35 children that will get to fulfill their purpose that God put them there for," said Nancy.

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Nancy says she is ready to hit the ground running, but she needs community support. She's asking the community to call on state representatives, congressmen, and senators to let them know these bus upgrades are a priority.

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