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Party-bus driver fired after caught texting while driving to Hamptons

In a video posted on Facebook, a party

In a video posted on Facebook, a party bus driver from M&V Limousine in Commack can be seen texting for 23 seconds while driving a group to the Hamptons. Credit: Facebook

A party bus driver caught on video texting as he drove to the Hamptons has been fired, the owner of the limo company said Tuesday.

Mark Vigliante, owner of Commack-based M&V Limousines Ltd., said he fired the driver after seeing the 23-second video clip of him texting while on the road.

"We have zero tolerance for any unsafe driving," Vigliante said. "I can't tell if he was or wasn't texting, but it could have been a possibility, so I told him, 'Unfortunately you can't work here, you're fired.' "

Vigliante declined to identify the driver, who had been working for him for six months. The driver was fired Sunday.

The driver was texting on July 19, a day after a pickup truck driven by an alleged impaired driver plowed into a limousine making a U-turn on the North Fork, killing four Long Island women in their 20s.

In the party bus case, Vigliante said the driver, 42, was shocked when asked about what happened.

"First he was shocked to hear what I was telling him; he said he looked at his phone for a minute and then put it down," Vigliante said. "We have zero tolerance for this because we have people's lives in our hands."

Vigliante said he is looking to put cameras in all the buses in his fleet. "If we didn't have the video, how would we know?" Vigliante said. He said the company already has GPS that tracks speed and harsh braking.

Amanda Castellano, 24, the organizer of the July 19 trip aimed at a day of wine tasting and beach time, told Newsday that she contacted M&V Limousines a day after the incident. One of the 45 passengers on the party bus took the video.

Castellano said she posted the video to Facebook after not hearing back from the company for a week.

The limousine company owner "finally contacted me after the video was posted to apologize and to tell me the driver had been fired," said Castellano, a middle school teacher.

Vigliante said he never got the message and first heard about it from a friend who saw the posting, and he immediately contacted her and fired the driver.

Castellano said she was motivated to report the incident after the tragic limousine accident in Cutchogue a day before her outing.

"You realize you don't know who is driving you," she said. "After the accident [the day before] and seeing the video it hit close to home."

Castellano said she is happy the party bus owner took swift action.

"I was very happy about the situation; that it was taken care of right away," Castellano said. "My whole plan to share this video was to seek justice and prevent future accidents."

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