Safety at bus stops

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

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.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:23 AM
    People need to wake up and stop thinking about theirselves and think of others if you see a bus that is stopped please stop
  • by Billy Reed Location: Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 08:34 AM
    I was almost hit the same way last week. I had to swerve out of the way to prevent the car behind me from hitting my car as I was stopped for a school bus.It is a wonder more people haven't been killed.
  • by Opinionated Location: Ardmore on Nov 6, 2007 at 07:58 AM
    I think anyone who passes a school bus with the lights on and sign out should spend a minimum of 30 days in jail and a 1000 dollar fine. And double it if it is in a school zone. If someone is killed, then a minimum of 20 years in prison with no parole.
  • by JN Location: Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 07:22 AM
    My husband and I travel between Sherman and Gainesville for work during the time that most school buses are loading (6:10-6:40). It is still pretty dark then. It is absolutely amazing how many vehicles completely ignore the lights and "STOP" sign on the buses when they are stopped picking up children. We pass through Sherman, S & S, Whitesboro, Callisburg, and Gainesville school districts. It angers me how much disregard these people have for the safety of these children and the driver of the bus, as well as those of us who do stop. PLEASE pay attention, don't be in such a hurry that you can't take 2 minutes to stop for a school bus. I wish there was more law enforcement of this. I would hate to see anyone else killed.
Sherman 4201 Texoma Pkwy (903) 892 -8123 Ardmore 2624 S. Commerce (580) 223-0946
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