Safety

Police captain found guilty of illegal bus passing

Posted on April 26, 2011

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Capt. Bruce Thomas Gentry, 43, of the Smithfield Police Department, was found guilty last Tuesday of illegally passing a stopped school bus in December.

Gentry received a 45-day suspended sentence, The Herald reports. He was issued the traffic citation on Dec. 17, when witnesses say he drove his police cruiser past a bus that was stopped and had its red lights on.

Misty Ricard, the mother of a 10-year-old boy who was crossing the street to board the bus, said she had to yell her son's name to prevent him from stepping out in front of Gentry's car. Once Ricard's son had boarded the bus, she followed the car and wrote down the license plate number on a gum wrapper. She identified Gentry as the driver in court.

The bus driver, Melissa Spain, said she made a hand motion to signal the car to stop, but it didn't. She also said she had turned on the bus' flashing yellow warning lights 400 feet prior to stopping, according to The Herald.

Gentry told District Court Judge Andy Corbett that he thought the bus driver was waiting for him to pass before stopping, and that only the yellow lights were flashing when he passed.

Corbett rejected several attempts by Gentry's lawyer to have the charges dropped.

In January, police Chief Michael Scott said that he would take no disciplinary action against Gentry until he had his day in court. And any discipline would be minor, Scott added, saying the offense did not merit a demotion or firing, The Herald reports.

Related Topics: law enforcement, stop-arm running/illegal passing

Comments ( 5 )
  • Ron

     | about 6 years ago

    I am a Retired police Chief... NOT A MAJOR INCIDENT???who is he kidding what if his child was crossing the road? How minor would that have been. I would have fired him as soon as he was found guilty of the stop arm violation. I now teach School Bus Driver Training in SC when are they going to wake up and relaize how improtant a school bus loading area is?

  • See all comments
More Stories
Video

VIDEO: School Bus Danger Zone Awareness

This dramatization from Georgia, based on a true story, teaches students about safely boarding and exiting the school bus — including what to do if they drop something.

Two bills that are intended to address school bus safety in the wake of a fatal crash in November have advanced in the Tennessee House of Representatives. One would raise the minimum age for new school bus drivers, and the other would require "a restraint system" on school buses.
News

Tennessee School Bus Bills Advance

A bill that would raise the minimum age for new school bus drivers in the state passes unanimously in the House. Another bill that would require restraints on school buses passes a committee vote.

Planning has begun for the 17th National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) in 2020. Murrell Martin and Bill Loshbough are shown here leading a discussion at NCST 2015.
News

NCST 2020 Planning Begins

Planning for the 17th National Congress on School Transportation is now in the works, with committee members being re-established and selected through this summer.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!