Fairfax County police said yesterday they are investigating how a school bus driver involved in an accident Tuesday acquired a Virginia driver's license even though his D.C. license had been suspended.
"We're checking the documentation to find out how he got his license here," said Fairfax police spokesman Dave Russell.
The bus driver, Edward Hall, 23, was charged with reckless driving after the accident, in which two children suffered major injuries. Ten other children and the driver of the maintenance truck with which Hall's bus collided received less serious injuries in the accident on Georgetown Pike in the Great Falls area.
Police spokesman Warren Carmichael said Tuesday that Hall had been charged with reckless driving at a speed unsafe for conditions and with driving on a suspended license. However, police said yesterday that the second charge had not yet been filed.
The two children seriously injured -- crash -- Ryan Meister, 12, and Danny Emery, 11 -- and Hall remained in satisfactory condition yesterday at Fairfax Hospital.
School officials said that when Hall, of 1450 Q St. NW, was hired in July, he presented them with a Virginia license that appeared to be valid.
Russell said the suspension of Hall's license in the District should have invalidated his Virginia license simultaneously.
Police were unable yesterday to say why Hall's D.C. license had been suspended.
Clarence Bradbery, manager of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' driver licensing and information division, said that if a driver's license from the District or another state had been suspended for a minor violation, the driver could obtain a Virginia license, and would be urged -- but not required -- to clear up the violation.
Bradbery said drivers are asked on their license applications if their driving privileges have been suspended anywhere in the country in the previous 10 years. He said the department checks a national registry for suspensions resulting from serious violations before a license is issued.
Hall's 12-year-old bus was carrying 27 children from the Cooper Intermediate School in McLean when it collided with the truck.
Fairfax school spokeswoman Dolores Bohen said the school system had no record of complaints against Hall before the accident. School Board Chairman Mary E. Collier said one parent had praised the driver.
Darian Olsen, president of the school PTA, said several parents told her after the accident that they had been concerned about Hall's driving, but she said she did not know if they had complained to the school system.
Bohen said Hall has been suspended and will be dismissed if speeding is found to have caused the accident.
Collier and police spokesman Russell said they did not know whether the injuries would have been less severe had the bus been equipped with seat belts. Fairfax County has ordered 87 belt-equipped buses, which are due to arrive in December.
But John F. Herrity, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said he believes seat belts would have prevented some injuries. Herrity said he will suggest that the School Board ask the Virginia General Assembly to change the law to upgrade the charge of reckless driving to a felony if it involves a public vehicle. The charge against Hall is a misdemeanor.