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Family says Francis Howell school bus driver who died from COVID-19 was told he had sinus infection

Doug Broste died the same day he was transported to the ER and admitted to the ICU

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — The family of Francis Howell School District bus driver Doug Broste, who died from COVID-19, said he had been diagnosed with a sinus infection.

He died a week later.

Darla Hollowood said her brother started feeling ill Monday, Jan. 5.

“He called in sick to work,” Hollowood said. “By afternoon he called his doctor and told him what was going on, and his doctor diagnosed him with a sinus infection and called in an antibiotic prescription. So, he was taking antibiotics all week and working with it.”

Hollowood said her brother did not get a COVID-19 test initially.

“No, he was told he didn’t need one because he had a sinus infection,” she said.

A week later, Monday, Jan. 11, Broste was transported to the emergency room.

“Before they moved him to the ICU, he called and said they told him he had COVID-19,” Hollowood said.

He died that same evening.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “He called me at 4:30 and less than six hours later he was gone. We were just blown away. Totally caught off guard. We had no idea.”

Credit: Family photo

Hollowood said her brother’s death comes at an already difficult time for her family. Their mother has health problems after a house fire last year and Broste was caring for her.

Hollowood was asked if she is concerned that her brother may have been around children on the school bus while he had COVID-19.

“The symptoms hit him Monday, Jan. 5,” she said. “So, I hope not. He was one who was very serious about being cautious, because he was caring for my mom, who is high-risk. As a result, he always wore a mask. He always stayed at a distance. He always washed his hands. He told me the first two rows of the bus are empty.”

Francis Howell School District officials said no close contacts were identified as part of the district’s contact tracing process.

The district released the following statement: 

“The Francis Howell community was saddened to learn of the passing of one of our own, Mr. Doug Broste, a member of our transportation staff who served the District for many years. He proudly dedicated his time and skills to safely transporting children to schools across the District and will be sorely missed by all those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts are with Mr. Broste’s family, colleagues, and the students on his bus route as they grieve this incredible loss.”

Family friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help with the care of Broste and Hollowood's mother.

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