WESTMINSTER, Mass. — Police here are searching for a vehicle that passed a stopped school bus on the right side last week.
The incident, which took place on Thursday just after 3 p.m., was captured on video by a surveillance camera near the bus stop. Lt. Mike McDonald of the Westminster Police Department told SBF on Tuesday that the bus was from Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District.
In the footage, the Type D school bus can be seen rolling up to a stop on a two-lane road, which police said has a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Shortly after the bus comes to a halt, a pickup truck can be seen driving by on the right-hand side of the bus, where passengers load and unload.
McDonald told SBF that the bus had its red lights flashing when the truck passed, but the students had not yet stepped off of the bus.
"They were just starting to stand up from their seats and were going for the door when it all went down," he said. No one was injured in the incident.
In a statement on Facebook, the Westminster Police Department said that the road has a full “breakdown lane” on each side, and the driver of the bus “appropriately stopped in the single travel lane at the bus stop.”
“The bus should never have been passed on the right either way, lights or no lights,” police said on Facebook.
In its investigation of the incident, the Westminster Police Department shared the surveillance footage on Facebook on Sunday and asked for the public’s help in identifying the vehicle and its driver.
On Tuesday, McDonald said that the department had determined who the truck belongs to, and they were working to establish who was driving it during the incident.
Meanwhile, the Westminster Police Department also addressed the broader issue of school bus stop-arm running.
“Reducing the incidence of illegal passing of stopped school buses is easier said than done,” police said in the Facebook post. “The solution to this complex problem requires the involvement and cooperation of many groups (motorists, school bus drivers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and the court) to make sure the law is obeyed, violations are reported, and the law is enforced.”
Here’s the video of last week's passing incident: