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Family of school bus driver involved in deadly crash with another bus awaiting answers

Son of school bus driver: "I feel for these other five families. I'm thankful there were no children on that b

The family of Glenn Chappell is grieving and waiting for answers after the school bus he was driving veered into oncoming traffic and crashed into a transit bus early Tuesday, killing the 67-year-old father of five and five others.

As police and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate, Chappell's son said the family is grappling with his sudden death and wondering what caused the crash.

"There had to be something. What? I'm not clear," Moses Chappell said Thursday.

Police said they're trying to determine if Glenn Chappell suffered a medical emergency. Moses Chappell said he was expecting answers from a routine autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

"I'm interested in what he would find," Moses said. "I feel for these other five families. I'm thankful there were no children on that bus. I'm thankful the [bus] aide survived."

Chappell and an aide were traveling in the school bus east on Frederick Avenue before 7 a.m. Tuesday, on their way to pick up their first child. Police said the bus smashed into the back of a car, struck a concrete pillar at the entrance to a cemetery and veered into oncoming traffic, where it tore into the front side of a Maryland Transit Administration bus. The crash killed Chappell, the driver of the MTA bus and four MTA passengers. It also wounded 10 others.

Glenn Chappell was an cautious, experienced driver, his son said. He drove a city taxi, a tractor-trailer and school bus over decades.

"He took care of himself. I never even saw my father drink a beer," he said. "He never had a heart attack ... I was just wondering if they're going to check his heart."

Glenn Chappell was raised in East Baltimore near The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He once worked as a mechanic rebuilding transmissions and would continue to tinker with cars through his life.

"He was the messiah of cars," his son said. "You could have a car that hadn't run in years and he could get it running."

Later, when Moses Chappell was grown and having car troubles, his father would discourage him from the expense of a mechanic.

"He would say, 'Moses, this is just too much.' You got to let me show you how to do it," he said.

Still, the father and son had some challenges. Moses filed a protective order against his father four years ago, but they have long since reconciled. Glenn Chappell doted over his 6-year-old granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson, his son said.

"He was the reason I wanted to be a father. He was the reason I wanted to have a family," he said. "My family is experiencing a lot of pain. None of us expected it."

Glenn Chappell was a contracted driver for Baltimore city schools. The drivers must meet health standards with the school system. Chappell passed an annual physical in June, school officials said.

But his commercial driver's license expired in September because he failed to provide the Motor Vehicle Administration with a certificate that he was in good health, authorities said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this article.

tprudente@baltsun.com

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