Banks bus driver wins 2019 LCPS Road-E-O
Elaine Harper, center, won Lenoir County Public Schools’ annual Bus Drivers Road-E-O Friday to qualify for regionals next month. Thelonious Ford, right, finished second and Cindy Jones finished third. Submitted photo
A tradition more than 20 years in the making had its preliminary rounds Friday.
The annual Lenoir County Public Schools Bus Drivers Road-E-O took place in the parking lot of the Vernon Park Mall. The event had 20 Lenoir County bus drivers navigate through an obstacle course as DMV judges kept track of their performances. The top two drivers go to regionals in April, with the top 10 from the regionals participating in states, to be held in Wilmington in June.
LCPS Transportation Director Anthony Mitchell has worked in the position for 22 years, 42 overall with the organization. Mitchell said Lenoir County won states in the first one back in 1997.
“This event just tests the driving skills of our bus drivers and gives them a way to showcase them,” Mitchell said.
Banks Elementary driver Elaine Harper won first place Friday. Harper is a teacher’s assistant in an EC class, and has been a bus driver for four years. Although she’s participated in the Road-E-O before, she hadn’t finished in the top three prior to this race.
Kinston’s Thelonious Ford finished second to qualify for regionals and Pink Hill Elementary’s Cindy Jones was third in the county event.
Ford, who participated in his first Road-E-O, said there were plenty of nuances involved.
“You have to watch the obstacles and make sure you’re not hitting anything,” Ford did. “I thought I did pretty good — the only thing was hitting a cone with my back tire, but I didn’t knock it down.
“The important part of this is paying attention to the road, because we experience things like this all the time.”
Deirone Davis watched the event Friday, but participated in more than 20. Davis said it can be tough, but it’s been a fun experience.
“It’s typically an event where drivers can show what they can do on the road,” Davis said. “There are different obstacles and it’s tough to do it without touching anything.”