Teacher Drove By School Bus With Flashers On

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.

  • MAJ

    People are in too DAMN big of a hurry. What if a child had been killed? I feel so sorry for bus drivers this time of year as they are picking up kids in the dark.
    My grandkids get on at my house at 6:40 AM and it is dark.

    • David Wagner

      In my home area we have the same issue when the lights start flashing then the cars will try to get passed with out waiting I am sure a child may get hit someday I sure hope not I have been a part of the patrol in this area for sometime and I have called police by the time the police get there thy are gone I was also a crossing guard and there were times they would run my sign as well people please watch what you are doing these kids are only trying to go to school

    • Willow

      I agree. Someone needs to do something about tailgaters.

    • chinwhiskers

      Hurry? at 10 miles an hour? Yellow flashing means caution, not stop. If car was beside the bus when red lights came on, it seems the bus driver could have waited just a wee bit longer before throwing the stop arm & red flashers.

      • schoolbusdriver

        Flashing yellow on a school bus means “warning the bus will be stopping” NOT caution. If you see the yellow lights come on be prepared to stop, look around for late kids, slow down and stop..20 feet from the bus. The bus driver can see more than you can.

  • Al

    Teachers pretty much think they know it all.

    • @Al

      Al – you got some serious issues dude. Her profession has nothing to do with this. Her being in a hurry does. This is way to fricken common an occurance but to lay that bullchit comment out there like you did makes me suspect you are a HS dropout in past or a failing fool today. Which is it? ;-)

    • ahab

      I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume that you did not have a very good experience with teachers in your school.

    • ahab

      I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume that you did not have a very good experience with teachers in your school.

      • ahab

        Sorry, I hit the submit button twice.

  • Rensal

    People are people, what’s the big deal, what does her job have to do with driving a car? If a doctor runs a stop sign should that be big news because he treats people who have been hurt by people running stop signs? How about a garbage man who gets caught littering?

    • gtV

      What was in your coffee today? We are talking about school kids get on a school bus with the safety red lights activated. We are talking about a teacher who by state educated mandates is supposed to “teach” school bus safety to her students. We are talking about a knowledgeable individual who should know the law and safety issues regarding school bus safety! We are talking about an individual who used the lamest [#1] ignorant excuse used for blowing past the school bus stop-arm when kids were getting on the bus.

      If you think I am not happy over this story–you betcha! I drove school bus for 20+ years, as well as other buses. I reported scores of drivers who blew past my safety lights and in some cases nearly hit some of my passengers.

      It’s bad enough that my bus driving colleagues and I watch these violators get off Scott-free because of lame excuses and lack of collaborating witnesses. It’s about time this kind of story makes news before some school child gets killed by a hurrying inattentive motorist.

      Don’t tell about the alleged doctor running a stop sign to get to an accident. Don’t tell me about garbage collectors littering. Tell me why you justify a teacher; especially one mandated to teach school bus safety; running the red lights on a school bus when children are boarding. There is NO justification for running the stop lights and stop-arm on a school bus. No lame justification is worth kids lives.

      Disagree with me all you want. However, I have thousands of my colleague drivers and hundreds in law enforcement to you otherwise. There is no excuse to equate “littering” by garbage collectors to motorists brushing past school buses under full activated warning lights when boarding or dropping off students.

      • ?????????

        No one is trying to justify this teacher running the stop arm and lights. She is obviously getting no consideration for being a teacher. What “mandate” are you referring to that would require this particular instructor to teach “school bus safety”? Do you know her and her teaching assignment? You have thousands of colleagues that are both drivers and law enforcement officers? Wow, that’s truly amazing. You’re a bus driving policeman! You say you were a bus driver for twenty years, so I imagine this story does upset you, but you also seem to have something against teachers as well.

        • gtV

          Yes, I am angry because of the apparent lack of diligence and concern for the safety of school kids. The mandate, I am referring to, is the state regulations and laws that require school bus safety being taught as part of MN classroom curriculum. If you are a teacher you know what I am talking about.

          I guess you are NOT or were not a bus driver. I was empirically speaking when I mention having thousands of bus driving colleagues. As a professional driver I was part of a great professional fraternity of folks who take their job and duties seriously. We may not know each other but we are part of a great group of people who do their jobs safely and professionally.

          No, chum, I am not a bus driving policeman! I am/was a professional who was bound to perform his duties at higher standards of diligence, safety, and skills. These standards were set down by Federal, State, and Local governments, statutes or ordinances, as well as pertinent school district[s] regulations. Bus drivers are an integral minor part of public safety by virtue of on-going safety training, driver certification check rides, and on-going vocational testing. There is much more to being a professional driver than just being behind the wheel.

          As for you alluding that I am against teachers–far from it! A good portion of my family are teachers! There is a standing pun among us, family members, who drove school buses. The pun is we would turn in our own Mother, spouses, et.al. who blew past our stop arms and lights!

          When there was once a breach of this rule, my grandmother may such a ruckus the offending party turned themselves in. Needless, to say, no one ever breach the school bus safety rules again. This is a true story. It may sound archaic by todays standards but the principle standards ring relevant today as they did many years ago. Besides, a school bus stop arm and safety light violation was worse than a speeding ticket in my former home state.

          So you see I have a personal investment in school bus safety and related issues. Many other folks just happen to agree with me on this………..

  • Mugs

    This happened south of Mason City, Iowa last year where a little girl was killed by a man in a pickup truck that drove past the Stop arm and flashing lights. No excuse.

  • Steve

    I slow down for school buses even if they are NOT displaying flashing lights or have arm extended…why? Because there are usually children near by…just common sense…

    • Paul

      Me too – but I see to many driver who hit the arm and flashers at the last second or as someone approaches and sometimes it’s dang near impossible to stop when someone is right on my rear end.
      This was in late November – I don’t even see the sun until about 7:15 or later. It is dark as night. Not defending th eteacher nor blaming the driver but the comment made makes me suspect this was a last minute flip of the arm….that also dumb

      • gtV

        As a retired school bus driver of 20+ years I see what you are saying but I know from the folks I drove with we strove to be textbook in our procedures. However, if this ‘jack-rabbit’ light activation is a constant problem with the same driver or same bus fleet report it to the local school district, company, or law enforcement. It only takes one or two errant bus drivers to ruin the good rapport of those who professionally strive to do their best for safety.

        Paul, don’t forget in this case the offending driver was a teacher. A teacher who also as part of her job has to teach bus safety to her students. She should know better. See what I mean?

  • markH

    Another situation where grandparents are raising their own grandkids. I see so much of this nonsense. I raise my own children and do not rely on aging parents to provide free or reduced cost childcare to my children. Tell your grown adult kids to grow a spine and raise their own kids.

    • Swamp Rat

      Wrong Story, Chumly! Wrong thread!
      Read the story!!!

  • j speedbag 64

    what does she teach,how to kill…………..fire her today

  • jackactionhero

    DEATH!!! DEATH TO THE TEACHER!!! The penalty for breaking the law, any law, should be DEATH!!! Why do we allow these fiends to walk among us!!! Kill them all!!!!!

    • CPT Awesome

      if that were the case I’m sure you would have been executed already, almost everyone has broken the law, either in a very small way or big way, even speeding then right? I’m sure at some point in time you’ve gone at lease 1 MPH over the limit, and that would be breaking the law….you’re an idiot

    • Poor jack

      jack…..your momma still on life support? She did a poor job of raising you for sure …..maybe her passing on is for the best

    • Kevin

      RIght on jackmeoff…now your coming into my world!!!!!!!!!

    • desert eagle .50

      There’s a law against coprophagia. Turn yourself in to be liquidated.

      What time will you show up? Please be specific.

  • Rocket Scientist

    Must be a reaaaallllll ssssllllloooowwww news day.

  • Ted

    I’ve been a bus driver…seen my share of stop arm violators…however from the sound of the story, I dont think the bus driver is being completely honest about the light activation tiime frame. I think the teacher saw amber lights flashing (legally, you dont need to stop for) slowed to a crawl (which was wrong on her part as she should have carefully kept going) by the time the bus actually stopped and activated the reds as the teach was already driving by…too late to bother stopping at that point.

    Bus Driver should have waited til the teach was safely past her, then activated the reds.

    • chinwhiskers

      TED — That’s exactly what I was taught when I drove a school bus & what I thought when I read the story.

    • gtV

      For the most part I see your point but your interpretation of the rules we drove by leaves a bit to be desired. When I first drove bus many years ago my former home state had strict rules regarding the 8-Way system and strict laws for motorists regarding school bus safety and the light system.

      Whenever the bus driver activated the ambers in preparing to stop, the bus was slowing down down to stop Motorist upon seeing the ambers flashing were to slow down and be aware of the forthcoming change to red along with the stop arm popping out. No if ands or buts about it! Hefty fines and all awaited motorist who didn’t heed the rules regarding school buses.

      If a motorist couldn’t stop in time upon activation of the reds and he was sufficiently slowed down he/she was allowed to pass through. The school bus lights were to be treated sacrosanct more than an ordinary stop light traffic signal. If a bus driver ‘jack-rabbits’ the red signal or 8-way system he/she could be held liable for a lot of varied statutory offenses. Many states adhere to these standards. {not so much in Minnesota]

      Even the “on the road” driver’s license examinations in these states have many references and instances where school bus safety law knowledge is tested. Not so in Minnesota. One question on the MN written license examination does not really fulfill these other states’ requirements.

      Ted, luckily for this story, there is an outside witness, a parent, who witnessed the whole thing as well as previous incidents regarding this offending motorist. However law enforcement sorts things out the offending motorist involved should have known the rules book forward and backwards by virtue of her job. She is a teacher! One by mandated rules teaches her school students school bus safety. Need I say more?

      • Ted

        @ gtV

        I think I understand what you are trying to say but my interpretation of the rule, or in this case, law is spot on. Yellow ambers mean ‘warning,’ not stop. How many of us have “raced” through an intersection seeing the lights change from green to yellow on approach? And using this same argument, with pedestrians waiting to cross the street….kids and adults alike?

        Can one get a ticket for blowing a yellow light? No.

        My point is that, my interpretation of the story from both sides is that I think it was a case where the driver activated the reds after the teacher just started to pass the bus. Im sure the mom saw what she saw – Im just not sure the law, as its written, was actually broken as she liked to believe because in her mind, her childs life was momentarily jeopardized.

        In short, Im saying that ya, the teach probably should have used some moral common sense and just stopped even with the ambers flashing but on the other hand, as stated previously, the driver maybe could have waited until the teach finished passing and then opened the door.

        • john adams

          Yellow lights at an intersection are not the same as yellow lights on a school bus. For example you cannot pass a school bus with its yellow lights activated FROM THE REAR! from the front when you approach a school bus with its ambers blinking you are required to slow to 20 mph and be prepared to stop. YOU must YIELD to the BUS, the Bus doesn’t yield to you.

  • CandyO

    If i was her i would say PROVE it

  • Todd

    There is a burden of proof, but in most areas in Minnesota bus drivers are considered a valid enough witness to have it uphold in a court of law. Funny, the school bus light question is one of the few that ALWAYS appear on a driving test. Then again, you have the right to fight it in court… you can have your day in court, you are second to last, right before drunk drivers. Enjoy your day.

  • Stays back up North

    Let’s just hope she wasn’t a driving instructor!! Yikes! But yes, she should know better than most

  • chuck

    This article could’ve easily read “Student’s killed by teacher who drove past school bus with flashers on”. Which is primarily the reason for this article. Yea, we all make mistakes but this is one that could’ve been much worst. I hope she and anybody else reading this article has learned from this.

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