COOKE CO., TX -- State troopers say accidents involving school buses account for less than one-half percent of all crashes in Texas. Even if it's a small percentage, entering and exiting a school bus could be the most dangerous part of a child's day. The reason is mostly motorists who are not paying attention.
An SOSU professor was killed in an unfortunate accident at a bus stop Thursday morning. State troopers say Gene Hetsel was stopped behind the loading bus, when another car rear-ended his car. Troopers say the other driver did not see the flashing lights as he was driving over the hill.
The buses haul between forty to sixty children at a time, taking them to and from school. The flashing lights, and the stop sign, are no suggestion.
"I slow down to begin when you see the orange flashing lights, you know they're going to stop when the red comes up I stop hoping I can block people behind me," says Eddy Henry, a Gainesville resident and teacher.
State troopers say by law drivers are required to stop whenever they see flashing red lights, unless there's a physical barrier like a median in between your car and the bus. Henry says unfortunately he has seen drivers ignore the warning signs.
"You just grit your teeth because you're afraid when something's going to happen."
A person can face fines up to $1000 for driving recklessly.
Troopers want to remind drivers to keep in mind the times when children are going to and from school, and keep an eye out for school buses, especially on busy highways.
"See the flash, they've got lights all over, pay attention."
Dr. Hetsel taught at North Central Texas College before coming to SOSU. He is survived by his wife and step-son.