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Charleroi school bus driver, ex-cop, cited for careless driving through railroad crossing

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 4:09 p.m.

A Charleroi Area School District substitute bus driver was cited for allegedly traveling across a Stockdale railroad crossing as a train was approaching.

Mark Gazi, 57, of 207 Third Ave., Roscoe, a former RESA and California University of Pennsylvania police officer, was cited by RESA police with required to stop at a railroad crossing and careless driving. The traffic citations were filed Tuesday in the Charleroi office of Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins.

According to the citation, Gazi allegedly failed to stop at a railroad crossing at Railroad and Locust streets in Stockdale at 8:25 a.m. Tuesday.

RESA police said the bus was just over halfway across the tracks when the crossing arm struck toward the back of the school bus.

Reached at his home, Gazi acknowledged receiving the citation in the mail Tuesday. Gazi said he intends to plead not guilty.

Gazi declined to comment on the citation or the incident, saying, “Come to the hearing and you'll hear my version of the story.”

Gazi, who also formerly worked for the Long Branch police department, has operated a private detective agency out of California since 2009.

Charleroi Area School District Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko said the district was informed Monday of the citations.

District officials met with Gazi, Ferko said. He declined to further discuss that meeting, calling it a personnel issue.

He declined to discuss whether Gazi was driving a bus run Wednesday or is on the active schedule.

Ferko said Gazi, a substitute bus driver, was picking up elementary students during a regular morning run at the time of the incident.

“Charges were filed, but Mr. Gazi has the right to a hearing,” Ferko said. “We won't make any comment until after the hearing.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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