Charges expected after Verndale girl exiting bus is hit by motorist | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Charges expected after Verndale girl exiting bus is hit by motorist

Posted: September 29, 2010 - 8:43am

A criminal charge is expected to be filed in Wadena County District Court against a 90-year-old woman whose car struck a 5-year-old girl after the girl had exited her school bus Monday.

The Verndale Police Department reported the girl, Myah Nelson, and her two sisters were being dropped off by the school bus at 3:53 p.m. at a residence on South Brown Street in Verndale. As Myah was walking around the front of the bus and attempting to cross the street she was struck by a car driven by Ruth Beaver.

Interim Police Chief Cory Carr said as Myah was crossing the street the bus driver saw Beaver's car approaching and honked the bus horn in an attempt to get Beaver's attention.

The vehicle was traveling between 25-30 mph when it struck Myah, Carr said. The posted speed limit on the road is 25 mph.

"It definitely could have been a lot worse," Carr said, and he reminded motorists of the need to watch for bus stop signs and flashing lights as children exit a bus.

Myah suffered minor cuts and bruises and was held overnight at a local hospital for observation. Beaver was not injured.

Carr said he expected the Wadena County Attorney's office to charge Beaver with gross misdemeanor school bus stop arm violation.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5857.

Bus safety: Know the rules

Use extra caution whenever a school bus is observed and watch for schoolchildren in the area.

A school bus is required to stop at all railroad crossings but is not required to activate the amber warning lights.

A school bus driver must activate the amber flashing lights at least 100 feet before stopping in a speed zone of 35 miles an hour or less, and at least 300 feet before stopping in a speed zone of more than 35 miles per hour. It is a gross misdemeanor to pass or attempt to pass on the right side of a school bus while its amber lights are flashing.

When the school bus is stopped and its flashing red lights are activated and its stop arm extended, traffic from both directions must stop at least 20 feet away from the school bus. Motorists must remain stopped until the stop arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing. The only time motorists don't have to stop for a school bus with its red lights flashing is when the bus is on a separate roadway, or a road separated by a safety isle or safety zone.

Penalties for school bus violations vary from a fine of about $300, to a fine of $3,000 and one year in jail, along with a driver's license suspension.

Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.