One of the former Tiger Transit drivers charged with the rape and sodomy of an 18-year-old Auburn student Friday night made a post on Facebook in the week leading up to his arrest claiming that the contractor that runs Auburn's Tiger Transit was not performing background checks.
"Attention everyone in the Opelika., Auburn and surrounding area!!!Drivers needed ., qualifications::: no license.,no background
Comments on the Facebook post seem to indicate that the post was facetious.
The contractor, First Transit, in a statement to The Plainsman, said it performs background checks and drug screenings and requires drivers to have the proper commercial drivers licenses.
"During the hiring process, we conduct background checks on all prospective employees," said Chris Kemper, First Transit's senior director of corporate communications. "We also conduct pre-employment and ongoing random drug and alcohol tests. Both of these former employees were qualified to drive according to our standards and the regulations of the state of Alabama."
Neither Patillo nor James Don Johnson Jr., the other accused Tiger Transit driver, had criminal records in Alabama, according to online court documents reviewed by The Plainsman. Patillo was arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence but that charge was later dismissed, according to his Russell County court record.
It's unclear if the charge was dismissed with prejudice as some DUI cases are after suspects complete mandatory DUI re-education or training courses.
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Johnson had no criminal record except for several traffic citations.
"Regarding First Transit, the contractor that operates the late-night, off-campus transportation service for students, Auburn University requires that they verify that each of their employees has submitted to and passed a background check," the University said in a statement. "They have confirmed to us they had done so in this case, despite claims to the contrary on social media."
The University, in statements to The Plainsman, said it is still evaluating their relationship with First Transit, which also contracts with the University of Alabama to run their Crimson Ride transit buses. First Transit operates more than 25 transit services at universities across the company.
"The university is evaluating their security measures, as well as the future of our relationship with them," the University said in a response to a question from The Plainsman Monday afternoon about the Facebook post.
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