Colorado State police officer won’t be cited for driving by stopped school bus

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Parent Brittany Ramos filmed a CSU police car driving past a school bus on Wednesday morning while the bus flashed its red lights. The Coloradoan

Colorado State University Police and Safety Department will not cite the officer who was shown driving by a stopped school bus in a video Wednesday, spokesperson Dell Rae Ciaravola said in a statement Wednesday evening.

The video, posted by a parent to a Facebook group early Wednesday, shows students running to board a Poudre School District school bus in the area of Colorado Highway 14 and Loma Linda Drive, which is east of Interstate 25, as a CSU police vehicle drives in the opposite lane past the bus. 

The bus’ red lights can be seen flashing as the police vehicle passes. arlier Wednesday, the department said the officer had failed to see the bus’ flashing red lights and that the police department had “taken the appropriate traffic enforcement action.” 

However, upon further review, Ciaravola said the department determined the school bus door opened as the officer drove past the bus — not while the officer was approaching the bus. 

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“The safety of our children at school zones is paramount to our entire community, and we appreciate being made aware of this concern,” Ciaravola said in her updated statement Wednesday evening.

In her statement, Ciaravola referenced the stop arm of a school bus, which is designed to automatically deploy as the yellow warning lights change to flash red when the bus door is being opened. 

Per Colorado law, drivers are required to stop at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus that is stopped with its read lights flashing and its stop arm extended — whether the bus is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road or at an intersection.

Drivers also must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating. There is one exception: You are not required to stop if you are traveling the opposite direction of the bus and there is a median or physical barrier between the lanes, also known as a divided highway.The area where the bus was stopped Wednesday does not have a raised median.

A diagram provided by Fort Collins police indicates the part of the road where the officer was driving Wednesday morning is considered a two-lane road with a center turn lane. In that case, vehicles must stop on all sides of a bus stopped with red lights flashing. 

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Brooklyn Dance covers breaking news and K-12 education. Contact her at bdance@coloradoan.com or on Twitter @hibrookIyn.

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