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May 20, 2010  |   Comments (14)   |   Post a comment

Cop accused of stop-arm running won’t be charged


NEWTON, N.C. — A police officer who allegedly drove past a stopped school bus last month will not be charged.

According to the Hickory Daily Record, the bus driver and another witness said they saw the Newton police car pass the bus while a student in a wheelchair was being dropped off on April 13. They said that the car did not have its lights or siren on.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the incident, and then it was reviewed by District Attorney Jay Gaither. Gaither’s office released a statement saying its opinion was that “the weight of the evidence is insufficient to prove the elements necessary to warrant charges being filed. … Seven individuals were questioned, and the information that they provided created a reasonable doubt that a motor vehicle traffic violation had occurred.”

Since no charges were filed, the name of the officer was not released. But Newton Police Chief Don Brown told the Daily Record that his department had “dealt with it appropriately internally.”

Brown also said he hoped that the matter would raise awareness — among the police and the public — of school bus safety laws.


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Shame on you, Mr. Policeman, forgot the laws??????

Cathy    |    Oct 11, 2010 01:09 PM

Remind me not to visit Newton, Nc. It seems that your children are not as important as children in other areas of the country. Certainly, not considered so by your County Attorney. HE is the one that is shameful. Running a stop arm ios very serious, but it CAN happen. Defennding the practice is what is disturbing. basically, Your County attorney sucks! You need to vote him out. There was definitely "Reasonable assurance to the violation!" The attorney didn't want to do his job and saying anything else is just ludicrous. Newton, Nc, A shameful place to be based on the actions of your county attorney and in-action of your population to DEMAND he prosecute the case. Handled internally is another way of saying he is guilty but we don't want to make that known. The whole lot of you Suck!

John Adams    |    Jun 26, 2010 09:25 AM

If the bus and driver in question had a stop arm camera installed on the bus, the police officer in question, if he had actually ran the stop arm, wouldn't have had a leg to stand on in court, it just goes to show, that even the law doesn't always abide by the law.

Trisha    |    May 25, 2010 10:51 AM

I drive a Fairfax County School, for VA. And Police think their above the law. I have police stop my bus and cars run my lights and they do nothing. Police are our #1 customsers that run our lights. Wish we had cameras, and the money for the ticket so go towards the schools....

Sher    |    May 25, 2010 09:19 AM

This really BURNS ME UP!! Most states mandate that EMS vehicles are to turn OFF their lights and sirens and stop for the school bus unless the school bus driver has waved them through. Police are to always stop for a stopped school bus...PERIOD. Our new buses (2010) down here in Palm Beach County are now equipped with cameras that will snap a photo if you pass a bus with it's stop arm extended.

Kevin Fox    |    May 24, 2010 05:08 AM

cops are not exempt from the law...the case should have been taken to trial just like every other case. This a deterrent for busdrivers to report infractions

beverly    |    May 21, 2010 01:15 PM

By the way, I agree with the comments on requiring stop-arm mounted cameras. Make them nice and visible and equip them with a flashing strobe. Stop-arm violations are happening far too frequently -- and this is a very serious and dangerous situation! Maybe Pres. Obama can come up with some additional grant money to help pay for these.

Dave    |    May 21, 2010 10:58 AM

I do not know the details of the case, such as what the testimony of the "seven individuals" questioned was. Presumably three of the seven would be the police officer accused, the bus driver and the other witness. Who the other four might be is open to speculation. As a bus driver who regularly reports stop-arm violations, I would hope the driver's testimony would carry the weight of a trusted public official. Also, although the headline states a cop was accused of running a stop-arm, the article itself does not state the stop-arm on the bus was deployed, nor that the 8-way student loading lights were flashing at the time. Here in Colorado, state law specifically exempts special needs buses from using the 8-way lights and stop-arm when loading or unloading mobility assisted students as long as the student does not have to cross the trafficway. The police chief's comments are interesting and caught my attention. By stating they had handled it internally implies that there was a violation, at least of police department policy, if not of local or state laws. If there were violations of any kind, they should be forthcoming with them. But by saying "he hoped that the matter would raise awareness — among the police and the public — of school bus safety laws," he unintentionally interjects some humor into the situation. I mean, come on -- if the public believes the officer violated the law and got away with it, why should they pay any attention to the stop arm? And although officers in his own police department may be aware that the accused officer suffered at least a slap on the wrist -- how does that improve police awareness of stop-arm laws across the rest of the U.S.? Again, if police from other departments perceive this gentlemen did something wrong and got away with it pretty much scot-free, then why should they be overly concerned about doing likewise?

Dave    |    May 21, 2010 10:46 AM

I live in Arizona and our cops stop for school buses because I have seen them to so. Maybe they should have a camera system on the school bus. Cameras allow you to see vehicles running stop arms. Glad no kid got hit!

Softball Mom    |    May 21, 2010 08:13 AM

I live in Arizona and the police are requirred to stop just like everyone else. We do however try to keep the students on the bus when we see them coming so they can do their jobs. Some police officers are above the law however it seems.

Sherry    |    May 21, 2010 06:27 AM

This is sad that our law enforcement system goes after everyone else but them selves for breaking the law. If a child had gotten hurt what would he have gotten a slap on the hand? Same laws for everyone please would be fair

Rob    |    May 21, 2010 04:46 AM

When the establishment will not even reprimand their own--how do you expect the police to take passbys serious. If he had killed a child maybe the ticket would be forthcoming.

Kay    |    May 21, 2010 04:32 AM

This is disgusting. Quite an example to the average motorist and a slap in the face to every school bus driver. Very sad.

Pam    |    May 20, 2010 05:55 PM

There should be cameras built in to the stop arms I just like we have at intersections and mail them the tickets and watch how much money would come in from hat!!!!!

Colleen    |    May 20, 2010 05:19 PM

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