(Mankato, MN) – The Blue Earth County Sheriff promised last month to add increased patrols to catch school arm violators after receiving continued complaints from concerned parents.
Since the sheriff’s office issued the warning, four people have been charged in Blue Earth County Court with failing to stop for a school bus:
On November 5, Eagle Lake police received a report from a school bus driver who reported a vehicle driving past the bus while the lights were activated. Police contacted the 23-year-old driver, Chandler Lawrence Good of Mankato, who said he’d been confused about what to do.
On November 12, Mankato Police responded to a complaint from a school bus driver who reported that an SUV had failed to stop for an extended school bus arm at the intersection of Broad and Lafayette Streets. The driver, Bryon Emanulae Alexander, 25, of North Mankato, told police he had stopped next to the bus and watched the children exit the vehicle and cross the street. Alexander told officers he thought it was okay to turn since the children were already on the sidewalk, according to the complaint.
On November 14, a driver from Yaeger Bus Company called the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s office to report a Honda CRV with a dealer license plate that drove past the bus while the stop arm and lights were activated. The bus driver told police the stop arm had been extended for about 15 seconds when the Honda drove past without slowing. The dealership told police Veeva Gaohlub Lee, 20, of Eagle Lake was driving the Honda. Lee admitted to driving the vehicle and said she had been driving too fast and not paying attention, according to the criminal complaint. Lee also said she hesitated to stop because the thought she would be rear-ended by the vehicle behind her. According to the complaint, Lee admitted she’d seen a parent with a child about to board the bus.
On November 19, an 80-year-old man was reported by a bus driver for allegedly failing to stop for a school bus arm at the intersection of Le Sueur and Linda Streets in Eagle Lake. The driver, Gary Lee Baldwin of Eagle Lake told police he didn’t notice a flashing red or yellow lights. He also said he didn’t notice an extended stop sign and said he wasn’t paying attention, according to court documents. Surveillance video showed Baldwin driving his truck past the bus.
The fine for violating a school bus stop arm is $500.
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