Manchester alderman accused of berating special-ed bus driver
MANCHESTER — Alderman Ed Osborne angrily confronted the driver of a bus for special education students while it was stopped in the middle of the street in June, an incident police investigated as a possible assault.
Osborne was driving his Lexus behind the bus when it stopped to pick up a child. Frustrated by how long he said the bus was stopped, Osborne allegedly honked his horn, got out of his car, brushed by the child's mother and swore at the driver, according to the mother and two witnesses. The accounts were part of an investigation report released by the Manchester Police Department.
Osborne also informed the women that he was an alderman and that they should "wait to see what happens to them," according to the report.
The incident took place June 7 around 8:30 a.m. on Ash Street, which runs next to Central High School, in front of the home Tonya Kinara, the mother of the 3-year-old child who was placed on the bus that day. (Kinara is the child's legal guardian.)
"He was less than a foot away from her face when he was screaming obscenities. He then proceeded to tell us we'll see what happens," Kinara said, adding that many students were walking by at the time. She added that her child, who has several behavioral disorders, still "would cry in morning; she wouldn't want to go out; she'd say the man is there."
Osborne denied that he swore at the women, and he insisted that he only approached the bus after he and other drivers were kept waiting for close to 10 minutes.
"They overexaggerated," Osborne said in a phone interview. "They were wrong ... . There were no blinkers going; she could have pulled off (to the side)," he said.
Osborne added, "I had to get my daughter to Nashua. She has stage 4 breast cancer. I couldn't stick around all day. It was just a bad situation."
Osborne then cut the call short, saying, "I'm all done, goodbye" and hung up the phone.
Kinara, the driver of the school bus and the bus monitor provided accounts of the incident that contrast with the one offered by Osborne. The driver of the bus, a Special Transit Service vehicle operated by Easter Seals, told Detective Carlo Capano that the bus was only stopped for a minute or so when Osborne started honking and approached them. She submitted as evidence the log drivers are required to keep, indicating that the entire stop lasted from 8:34 a.m. to 8:39 a.m. The driver said Osborne moved past Kinara, who was standing by the door, and grabbed the other side of the door. "You need to pull this (expletive) bus over when you have to wait that long," the driver recalled Osborne saying, according to the report.
The driver said Osborne asked for her name and told her, "I'm going to fix you, I'm going to fix you good," according to the detective's report, who noted that "she felt (she) was going to lose her job, (and) was scared for her safety."
The driver said the bus couldn't pull away immediately because the car seat that the child was being buckled into was faulty.
The bus monitor was also interviewed. She is hearing impaired, but she said she could tell Osborne was very angry, according to the report. "She covered the child's ears and felt scared for the driver," the report states.
Osborne's own adult daughter, who was with him in the car, contradicted at least one component of his account, telling Capano that her father had honked his horn. But she insisted that they were there for close to 10 minutes, and "he was calm and was talking to the driver."
At one point during Osborne's interview, he told the detective that he knew the woman (Kinara) had made a complaint against him. "You know how these people are, they think if they beat you to the punch by making a report, and I'm the bad guy," according to the report.
Osborne was investigated for simple assault, stemming from the alleged physical contact he made with Kinara as he approached the entrance of the bus.
Capano concluded that there wasn't enough evidence to support the charge, but he did admonish Osborne for his actions.
During an interview at Osborne's house in early July, the alderman remained insistent that he did not honk or swear at the women. But the detective stressed that he found the witness accounts credible, and Osborne later softened his tone.
"I informed him what he did was wrong and much like a road rage incident," Capano states in the report. "At this point, Osborne advises me that lately he isn't remembering things as well as before and finding himself becoming upset and angry much quicker these days."
Osborne told the detective that he would like for him to apologize to the victim on his behalf.
Asked during the brief phone interview Tuesday if he felt he should apologize to the women, Osborne said, "Not really," adding, "I felt if that makes them feel better, fine with me."
Kinara said she didn't think the Manchester police did their job "very well."
"If this was anyone else, if they were swearing and honking and got caught lying to the police by his own witness, would they say 'There's nothing we can do?'" she said.
The New Hampshire Union Leader obtained the police report in late July through a right-to-know-request.
Osborne is the longtime representative for Ward 5. He is running unopposed for reelection in the fall.