MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 57-year old Northfield woman, who is a school teacher, is accused of driving past a bus with its stop arm out while children were boarding the bus from a rural road, according to charges filed Thursday in Dakota County Court.
Deborah Ethel Hadas was charged with a school bus stop arm violation, a gross misdemeanor, in connection with the incident, which happened on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011.
According to a complaint, a woman reported to the stop arm violation to police at about 6:56 a.m. that day at a Dakota County residence in Eureka Township. When the woman met with police, she said that she brought her two children out to the end of their long driveway on Galaxie Avenue and waited with them until the school bus came.
She said she always waits with them as they have to cross the road to get on the bus. The complaint states as she was saying goodbye to her kids that day, she saw a vehicle over her left shoulder drive past the bus while it had its lights on and stop arm out. She said it wasn’t the first time that particular car drove through a school bus stop arm.
Once her kids were on the bus, the woman followed the car to get its license plate number.
The bus driver told police she activated her flashing lights about 500 feet away from the bus stop and saw a couple of cars approaching the stop traveling northbound. The bus driver said she saw the approaching car slowing to about 10 miles per hour and thought the driver would stop.
The bus driver activated the lever to open her doors, which activates the bus stop lights. The car did not stop and continued past the bus, the complaint states. The bus driver said the woman was slowing down and she thought she was going to stop, but just kept going.
Hadas, who is a school teacher, told police she drives on the road daily and is aware of the bus stop’s location. Hadas said she saw the bus approaching with its lights flashing and the children waiting on the other side of the road. The complaint states as she approached, the bus wasn’t completely stopped and its arm wasn’t completely extended so she thought the bus driver wanted her to drive by.
Hadas also told police the red lights on the bus weren’t flashing when she drove by, but they were on when she passed it. She told police she regrets the incident and didn’t intend to break the law.
If convicted, Hadas faces up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.