PORTLAND -- A TriMet bus driver accused of reading while driving said he had a device on the dashboard, but wasn't looking at it, according to his attorney.

After video surfaced of him driving on I-5 and appearing to read his Kindle, 40-year-old Lahcan Qouchbane was pulled from his route and placed on administrative leave. TriMet's Mary Fetsch said they had received several complaints about Qouchbane before the Thursday morning incident.

The 60-second video, filmed on a passenger's cell phone, showed Qouchebane repeatedly looking down at the device and even driving with one elbow through the Terwilliger curves. He reportedly told the passenger that taking his photo was not allowed. Several other passengers called to complain about the same incident, Fetsch said.

The passenger who filmed the video told KGW Qouchbane was definitely reading and added, from our perspective, it was kind of the worst time to be doing something like that.

Qouchbane would not be reading such a thing while engaged in traffic, his lawyer, Jonah Paisner, told KGW. He also said, if it is only possible for one side to give their opinion for what the video means, that is very influential.

Fetsch said eight operators this year have been suspended for violating TriMet's electronic device policy. She also said Friday that TriMet had received 80 complaints of cell phone use by drivers.

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