LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – A frustrated Lake Wales woman contacted News Channel 8 after watching drivers zip past a stopped school bus on multiple occasions during the past few weeks.
Nora Joanne Munoz got so fed up she recorded a video of the drivers, and then posted it on the News Channel 8 Facebook page.
“I’ve called for police but I have never seen anyone out here. I contacted News Channel 8 because I knew something would get done,” Munoz said.
“My niece is scared to death and so am I,” said Munoz, who routinely takes her niece to the bus stop. “I am worried something really bad is going to happen.”
In the video, you can see the bus pulling up to a pick up a student. The lights are flashing and the stop sign extends to warn drivers to stop. You then see two drivers fly past the bus on Highway 27 in Lake Wales.
News Channel 8 showed Munoz’s video to Lake Wales Police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze.
“Wow,” he said. “That is definitely illegal and very dangerous. Everyone is in a hurry. They need to think about other people besides themselves when they’re out in traffic driving.”
Schulze said the bus stop is out of his department’s jurisdiction, so he passed the complaint on to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Director of Communications Scott Wilder said because of the video deputies will be patrolling the area of the bus stop during the morning and afternoon for the next few days. After that, they’ll patrol from time to time.
“When you see that kind of a violation, especially on 27, that is a dangerous road, anyway. So we will be there for the next couple of days, but, at a certain point those checks are going to have to be random,” Wilder said.
Wilder said the drivers violated the law by passing the stopped bus. “When that bus comes to a complete stop, and those red lights come on, and that pad alarm is out, that’s where the violation occurs.”
“On the paddle side it is $269.00. On the side the student exits from, it is $369.00 and a mandatory hearing,” he added.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Donna Wood said deputies are consistently patrolling the area, despite what Munoz said. Wood also had a message for drivers, “You may have gotten away with it one time, but we will catch you if you think you are going to pass a stopped school bus.”
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