Safety

Bus driver credibility weakens bus-passing fatality case

Posted on June 26, 2014

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Journal reports that new evidence about a bus driver's record and her supervisor's actions, which forced an earlier mistrial in a case about a driver of a car allegedly passing a stopped school bus and striking and killing Hasani Wesley, 11, led to a prosecution plea deal.

On Monday, Billy Roger Bailey pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the incident, which occurred on Dec. 19, 2012. Forsyth Superior Court Judge William Z. Wood imposed a total jail sentence of 60 days. Bailey received a 30-day active jail sentence; Wood suspended the rest and placed him on supervised probation for 30 months, according to the newspaper.

At issue during the trial was whether the bus was stopped, with red lights flashing and stop arm out, when Wesley was hit. Stephanie Fulton, the bus driver, testified that the bus was stopped — with the red lights flashing and the stop arm out — when Wesley crossed the road, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.

However, new evidence regarding the bus driver’s record and her supervisor conducting an improper investigation came to light and significantly crippled Forsyth County’s case against Bailey, according to the newspaper. Also, a North Carolina Highway Patrol accident reconstruction expert told prosecutors that he agreed with the defense’s expert that the bus was stopped 20 seconds before the red lights and stop arm were activated.

To read the full story, click here.

Related Topics: North Carolina, stop arm running/illegal passing

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