Mother of injured Kiddie Kabz passenger files notice of intent to sue

This screenshot from Michelle Widdows' Ring camera video shows a Kiddie Kabz driver, who appears to be trying to fix the damaged bumper of the Toyota Corolla he was driving. The driver was involved in a two-vehicle-crash on Monroe Turnpike May 27, while he was taking Widdows' son home. Police say the driver, who reportedly is no longer employed by Kiddie Kabz, evaded the scene.

MONROE, CT — A local mother intends to sue the school district and two transportation companies after her autistic 15-year-old-son was injured in a crash, while a driver from Kiddie Kabz took him home from ACES Whitney Academy in Hamden on May 27.

The driver allegedly watched a video on his cellphone moments before rear-ending a Honda CRV on Monroe Turnpike.

Michelle Widdows said her son, Shalom, jerked forward from the impact, causing injuries. He was taken to Monroe Urgent Care for neck and back pain.

“He has autism and diabetes,” Widdows said of her son. “He sustained a back injury, which required three months of physical therapy.”

Edmund Q. Collier Trial Lawyer LLC filed intent to sue letters on Widdows’ behalf on Sept. 28, sending notifications to Monroe Public Schools, Connecticut Transportation Solutions and its subcontractor, Kiddie Kabz.

On Tuesday, Katelyn Manning, Widdows’ attorney, told The Sun the gray Toyota Corolla the Kiddie Kabz employee was driving was registered to the company’s CEO, Tanya Chapman, and her husband and was on the couple’s private insurance, rather than being insured through the Hamden transportation company.

“There may be a coverage issue, because of that,” Manning said.

She also questioned whether Kiddie Kabz gave police the correct information on the identity of the driver involved in the crash, because Manning said video from the Ring camera at Widdows’ Monroe home appears to show a much younger man than the one in the police report, who will be 51 this year.

“The person named in the police report had no clue there was an accident,” Manning said of her own investigation.

Chapman declined to comment for this story.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

“Shalom was injured. He has some back pain and has had physical therapy,” Manning said. “We would like him to be compensated for the pain he suffered and for the medical bills incurred from this unfortunate accident.”

“This accident obviously could have been prevented if the driver wasn’t distracted,” she said, “and I hope we can get to a resolution, and that this will not happen again, and people can feel safe having their kids brought to and from school with these transportation services.”

The police report

The accident occurred on Monroe Turnpike, near the intersection with Trefoil Drive in Trumbull.

Tamango Wayne Housley, 50, of 37 Bradley Ave. in Hamden, was identified as the Kiddie Kabz driver in the police report. Trumbull police determined he was at fault for the May 27 crash.

According to the police report, the investigation determined Housley followed too closely, left the scene of the accident, evaded responsibility and was distracted prior to the accident by use of his hand-held mobile phone.

At approximately 2:53 p.m. on May 27, a 26-year-old Milford woman who was heading north in her black 2015 Honda CRV, stopped in traffic, when police say Housley, who was driving behind her, struck her vehicle from behind in a gray Toyota Corolla.

Police said the Honda’s rear bumper was pushed in and it had undercarriage damage from the impact, and the Toyota had front end damage.

The woman told police she had a brief conversation with Housley and when she went back to her Honda to retrieve her identification and vehicle information and call the police, she said Housley drove off without making any attempt to exchange information with her, according to the report.

Housley later told police there was no damage to either vehicle, the other driver told him she was not injured, and that she said he could leave, the report said.

Video from a Ring camera at Widdows’ home shows Housley arrive in the Toyota Corolla and Shalom get out of the car, wincing in pain as he walks to the house. Then Housley gets out of the car and appears to try to fix the front bumper.

Widdows said Shalom told her wife, Karen, he was in a car accident. In the video, Karen is seen confronting Housley. She later said the bumper appeared to be crooked and falling off.

Shalom gave police a statement, telling officers Housley was watching video on his cellphone just before hitting the Honda from behind.

Widdows said neither Chapman, nor her driver at the time, showed up at the Trumbull Police Department to cooperate with its accident investigation.

“The Department of Transportation needs to put Kiddie Kabz on notice,” she said. “They are driving special needs children to and from school without adequate insurance coverage.”

“Coordinated Transportation Systems and Monroe continued to have my son driven in a car without adequate insurance coverage, and during an ongoing criminal investigation by the Trumbull Police Department,” Widdows said. “How is this acceptable?”

1 Comment

  1. You know, Bill Bittar, what I find interesting is that no one here is willing to tell the real story. I genuinely feel for Shalom and his family, because this injury could have been avoided completely had the Monroe Board of Education given the bid for the transportation of their most fragile and vulnerable population, their special needs students, to a more reputable company, given that CTS, Connecticut Transportation Solutions, clearly does not do their due diligence when subcontracting out the work.

    Not only is Kiddie Kabz not properly insured, they aren’t insured as a student transportation company at all. If you look closely enough at the picture above, you’ll notice that the license plate is a regular license plate. All cars/busses/vans that are legally licensed to transport students in this State are required to have a student transportation license plate – the lettering of which is in red, not blue, like the picture depicts. In addition, the Kiddue Kabz drivers are not properly endorsed (all student transportation drivers are required to have a minimum of a V endorsement), and an astounding number of their cars are not even registered. They have cars that share plates (each car in CT is issued two plates – they have one plate on one car, and the second plate on a different car) and cars that have not been inspected by the DMV, a requirement every student transportation vehicle in the State of CT is required to uphold. Like Ms. Chapman said in June of 2021 when this article first came out, they’ve been transporting students out of their Hamden headquarters for upwards of 18 years, and never once have they been doing it legally. But what is more surprising is that CTS has been made aware of the fact that Ms. Chapman does not operate a legal transportation company, and they looked the other way each time they subcontracted with her to transport another student.

    But the Monroe Board of Ed and Kiddie Kabz are not the only ones to blame here. What about the Monroe Police Department, who never even noticed that the car the company was using to transport Shalom was not a licensed student transportation vehicle?What about ACES, the school who allowed Shalom to be picked up/dropped off every day in a car they know is not legal to transport students, since ACES themselves operates a student transportation company, and every one of their vehicles is properly plated with a red lettered student transportation license plate? The letters are in red for a reason, this way you can very quickly and easily notice if the car is a legally operated student transportation vehicle (the only exception being a livery plated vehicle, which can also be dually licensed as a student transportation vehicle).

    This problem is huge in the State of CT. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) contracts with student transportation companies, spending upwards of 4 million dollars a year of tax payer money, and they too are utilizing improperly licensed and definitely improperly insured companies to transport some of the children who are committed to the State of CT (like SKM transportation, who not only utilizes non-V endorsed drivers, but they’ve also been known to encourage their drivers to use their own cars when the cars they’ve provided aren’t working – completely illegal!) Don’t get me wrong, there are a few reputable companies out there (Kid’s Wheels, Connecticut Branches, B&B and Curtain to name a few), but for the most part, the question of what company is transporting your children is huge when considering what can be lost – the life of a child and most likely, the life of a special needs child! The State of CT needs to crack down on these illegal companies, but more importantly, they need to crack down on the people who use them (DCF, the many Board of Educations, etc) because the very nature of the business is such that the V endorsement is given when a driver is supposedly properly trained and safe (this too is a joke, but just another way of the State getting extra money from people), the DMV transportation inspection is given to ensure the car is properly equipped and safe and the company is licensed with student transportation plates as a student transportation company when they’ve completely ensured the tools being used (i.e. the car, driver, the insurance) are all properly set up to accommodate any possible situation.

    There’s no doubt Kiddie Kabz not only used an illegal car to transport Shalom, but as usual, Ms. Chapman used an illegal driver, or she’d never have given the wrong name to the press and to the family. She offered to pay the medical expenses at the time, because she knew full well her insurance would never have covered this accident, therefore leaving Shalom’s family to have to pay for his medical expenses on their own. Not to mention the impact on him emotionally and physically, and the family as a whole.

    I’m just saying… Perhaps we should care a little more about who is transporting our children, and encourage those who are responsible for monitoring these companies like the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the various police departments to actually do their jobs!

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