Safety

Video: School Bus Hit By Railroad Crossing Arm, Driver Goes Over Tracks

Sadiah Thompson
Posted on June 12, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A school bus driver here is being investigated after a video taken by a motorist showed her driving over railroad tracks after a crossing arm hit the bus, KIRO 7 reports.

Kevin Acuff, the superintendent for Elma School District, told the news source that the bus driver, who has been driving for 37 years, was transporting elementary school students on June 4 when she drove over the railroad tracks. Acuff added that the bus was traveling at “an extremely slow speed” and the bus driver immediately notified the district’s bus garage after the close call. No one on board was hurt, according to KIRO 7.

Owen Swartz, the motorist who was stopped behind the bus at the time, posted a video of the incident on Facebook. The video shows the crossing arm hit the top of the bus as the red lights that warn of approaching trains flash, and then the crossing arm continuing to come down as the bus drives off. Swartz clarified in the post that the “train passed not long after,” and that “the bus was stopped on the tracks when the arms came down.”

Chief Susan Shultz with the Elma Police Department told KIRO 7 that it was determined that the bus driver did, in fact, stop at the crossing and was clearing the tracks before proceeding over them. Currently, state law requires bus drivers to stop, open the door, and check for trains before crossing railroad tracks, according to the news source.

Elma School District said in a statement posted on its website that the bus driver has since been removed from all driving responsibilities, and that the Elma Police Department has been asked to investigate the matter. The district also said that student safety remains a priority, and that the district “will take every necessary step to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Watch the full video, posted on Swartz’s Facebook page, below. (Note: The video contains some profanity.)

Related Topics: railroad crossing, Washington

Sadiah Thompson Assistant Editor
Comments ( 12 )
  • Richard Skibitski

     | about 2 months ago

    The video doesn't show anything before the gate was on the bus, but the warning lights and bells go off before the gate begins to descend (from FHA crossing handbook; In a normal sequence of operation, the flashing light signals and the lights on the gate arm in its normal upright position are activated immediately upon the detection or approach of a train. Industry standards require that the gate arm shall start its downward motion not less than 3 seconds after the signal lights start to operate;). There is no mention if the gates were working properly.

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