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
Update 7:30 p.m.: Colorado State University Police and Safety Department will not cite the officer who drove by a stopped school bus Wednesday, spokesperson Dell Rae Ciaravola said in an updated statement Wednesday evening.
Earlier Wednesday, the department said the officer had failed to see the bus’ flashing red lights. 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.
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.
Original story: The Colorado State University Police Department has taken action against an officer caught on video driving past a stopped school bus Wednesday morning.
The officer did not see the bus’ red flashing lights, according to CSU Police Department.
“Upon learning of this video involving one of our police vehicles, CSUPD immediately reviewed the situation and identified the officer who was driving,” said spokeswoman Dell Rae Ciaravola. “… Our officer understands and regrets the mistake and has taken responsibility.”
Ciaravola said the police department has treated the situation as they would if a civilian were driving “and has taken the appropriate traffic enforcement action.” The Coloradoan asked for further information on what action was taken. As of 4:15 p.m., Ciaravola had not responded.
Larimer County resident and mom Brittany Ramos uploaded the video on Facebook, which 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. The red lights of the bus were flashing. In the background, a CSU officer drives by the bus in the other lane.
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According to Colorado law, drivers are required to stop at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus that is stopped with its red 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.
If the law is violated, there are repercussions.
Your first offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor with a fine up to $300, mandatory court appearance and six points on a driver’s license. A second offense within a five-year period escalates to a Class 1 misdemeanor with a fine up to $1,000.
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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.
Fort Collins Police Service spokesperson Kate Kimble said painted medians can be identified as “two solid yellow lines on each side … space in between the lines is not meant to be driven on.”
“We encourage all drivers to be alert and aware whenever traveling near school buses to ensure the safety of children in our community,” Kimble wrote in an email.
Ramos told the Coloradoan she usually records the intersection every morning, calling cars passing the school bus “an everyday occurrence.”
“This isn’t my first video,” she said. “I’m hoping to get people to stop, especially in the winter with our roads … what would happen if (drivers) were to slip on ice and hit either a child or the bus?”
“Everyone is in such a hurry until an accident happens,” she added.
Brooklyn Dance covers breaking news and K-12 education. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @hibrookIyn.
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