TriMet driver caught reading Kindle on I-5

A Trimet driver is caught on video reading a Kindle while driving

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on September 17, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 17 at 4:44 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A TriMet bus driver was caught on video by a passenger, reading a Kindle while driving down I-5 Thursday.

The driver, 40-year-old Lahcen Qouchbane, reached into his bag, pulled out  the Kindle and set it on the dashboard. A passenger who witness the event decided to record it with his cell phone.

The recording took place on the Line 96 bus traveling from Bridgeport Village to downtown Portland, TriMet officials said Thursday.

The passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, recorded about 60 seconds of video as the bus ran along the Terwilliger Curves. The passenger said the driver appeared to be reading all the way through the curves and into downtown.

The video showed Qouchbane looking up and down at the device while he drove. At one point, he used only an elbow  to steer the bus for a few seconds, while looking down at the Kindle. He seldom had both hands on the wheel.

"When I departed the bus, he asked if I took his picture while he was driving. I said I had, and he responded that I was not allowed to take his photo while he was driving," the passenger said.

Qouchbane was immediately pulled off of his route after TriMet received several complaints, according to TriMet spokeswoman Bekki Witt.  He was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. He has been with TriMet since July 2000.

Witt called the incident "totally unacceptable."

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