BEDFORD, Ohio — A school bus driver here is being credited for her quick thinking in helping prevent a student from being struck by a vehicle that illegally passed the bus.
School bus surveillance video shows the fifth grade student, identified as Emma, getting off the bus, when the bus driver alerts her to get back on the bus as a vehicle drives on the sidewalk past the stopped bus, plowing across several lawns, News 5 Cleveland reports.
Emma told the news source that after the incident occurred she came home and started crying because she knew what would have happened if her bus driver didn't alert her to get back on the bus. Her mother, Carol Davison, added that she’s thankful the bus driver had “the foresight to yell and be paying attention” and that she hopes the situation will make motorists more "cautious of other people's kids."
Authorities told News 5 Cleveland that the motorist, 39-year-old Lonnie Tole, said his brakes weren’t working at the time. However, Rick Suts, deputy chief of the Bedford Police Department, told the news source that “there’s no credence that he didn’t have brakes” since he was able to get the car home and park safely. Tole was cited with reckless operation.
Several Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation to combat instances of illegal school bus passing. As SBF previously reported, Sen. Theresa Gavarone sponsored SB 134, also known as the “School Bus Safety Act." The bill would double fines and driver’s license suspension time periods on motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses, and also make funding available for stop-arm cameras. It is currently sitting in the Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee, according to the Ohio Legislature’s website.
Additionally, Rep. Niraj Antani proposed a similar bill, House Bill 89, in March. That bill would also double fines on offenders and appropriates $1 million in grants to school districts to purchase stop-arm cameras in fiscal year 2020. It is currently sitting in the Criminal Justice Committee, according to the state legislature's website.
Read a statement from the Bedford Police Department about the incident, posted on the department’s Facebook page, below.