Community members talk school bus stopping safety

After three young school children were killed as they crossed the street to get on the bus in Fulton County, many in the Greater Lafayette area are starting to voice concerns and raise awareness.

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 7:23 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - After two six-year-old twin boys and their older nine-year-old sister were killed as they crossed the street to get on the bus in Fulton County, many in the Greater Lafayette area are starting to voice concerns and raise awareness.

"It's your worst nightmare that something like this can happen," said Lafayette Police Department School Resource Officers Mark Roberts.

Roberts works with children of all ages across all Lafayette schools.

"It happens all over the county and it's a shame,” said Tippecanoe County School Corporation Transportation Director Greg Haltom.

A shame that cars don't seem to want to stop for the school bus stop sign.

And because one driver didn't stop, three young children in Fulton County are forever taken from their loved ones.

"I can't imagine the unspeakable sadness and tragedy," said local mom Melissa Luebbe.

Anna Hirst has been a bus driver for West Lafayette schools for six years. She sees cars blow past her bus everyday.

"I am not on as busy of a street as other drivers and they have multiple stop arm violations on a daily basis,” she said.

Melissa Luebbe stands with her 5-year-old son Henry every day as he gets on Hirst's school bus. Henry, a kindergartener, just started riding the bus in August.

"Henry and Melissa are great because they will wait until I make eye contact with them and I give them the crossing signal," said Hirst.

All students are supposed to wait for their bus driver to give the “all clear” signal for them to board the bus. Because the bus driver sits at a higher viewpoint, Haltom says they have the best chance to catch a car that isn’t stopping and warn the student.

"Mrs. Anna (Hirst) tries to be extremely detail oriented about making sure that she does not let children cross if there is traffic nearby,” said Luebbe of her son’s bus driver.

So when can you legally pass a stopped school bus?

When a bus' stop arm is extended and the red lights are flashing, vehicles are required by law to stop. When they are flashing yellow, you can still pass. But Officer Roberts recommends drivers see the yellow lights as a warning to stop.

Hirst said she regularly sees people racing to pass her bus while the lights are flashing yellow.

"When you see those yellow lights, don't try to beat the bus. Come to a complete stop and wait until they have loaded or unloaded the students." said Roberts.

On a regular two lane street, both lanes must stop for a school bus. However when there is a grass or cement median dividing the road, cars driving in the opposite direction of the bus can pass using caution.

If a police officer was to catch you speeding through a school bus stop, Roberts said that action can cost you a lot..

“Reckless driving is something someone can be incarcerated for,” he said. “So if you just blatantly blow through a stop sign and an officer sees it, their going to stop you and they can technically arrest you for reckless driving."

You could also get a monetary fine for ignoring the bus stop.

Hirst said she and other bus drivers are actively looking at license plates and noting car descriptions to report to the police.

Many don’t want to see what happened in Fulton County happen here in Tippecanoe County.

You may see some little black ribbons on your child's bus for the next few days.

"The Indiana State Police have allowed district buses to place black flags or ribbons on our bus ,as long as they didn't obstruct views, in a way to memorialize the folks up in Rochester," said Haltom.

He explained that all TSC bus drivers go through extensive training on how to safely get students on and off the bus.

"We've been working with the sheriff's office and doing some upgraded enforcement for that," he said.

Hirst said that West Lafayette Schools sent out an email to all bus drivers refreshing them on all the do’s and don’ts of proper school bus safety.

Many of our bus drivers are actively working to help educate students about school bus safety.

"It's important that I teach them daily that you need to always look around you too," said Hirst.

But parents can help too.

"Parents need to talk to them and say, Hey, you know wait until the bus driver is ready for you, don't just run out there," said Roberts.

Because at the end of the day, everyone just wants to see their kids to come home safely.

"No hurry that you're in, no place that you need to be is more important than a child's life,” said Luebbe.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 17°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 30°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 23°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 26°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Mild Conditions Continue Wednesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 657037

Reported Deaths: 12450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion901321624
Lake48105871
Allen35552632
Hamilton31839393
St. Joseph29538510
Elkhart25261412
Vanderburgh21115377
Tippecanoe19765197
Johnson16242352
Porter15838267
Hendricks15723296
Clark11843179
Madison11672314
Vigo11503228
Monroe10248158
Delaware9788178
LaPorte9720194
Howard9017194
Kosciusko8514107
Bartholomew7373147
Warrick7369146
Hancock7362128
Floyd7139164
Wayne6586188
Grant6395157
Morgan6040124
Boone603388
Dubois5868111
Dearborn540266
Henry539492
Marshall5390104
Cass537199
Noble506775
Jackson462063
Shelby458490
Lawrence4154111
Gibson399681
Harrison395160
Clinton392353
DeKalb382078
Montgomery381583
Knox354484
Miami354063
Whitley346235
Huntington338176
Steuben335955
Wabash328775
Putnam325959
Ripley325161
Adams320249
Jasper312943
White295351
Jefferson292770
Daviess284296
Fayette270255
Decatur269388
Greene259978
Posey259731
Wells255374
Scott248446
LaGrange240170
Clay238944
Randolph225076
Spencer215830
Jennings213544
Washington207727
Sullivan202038
Fountain200341
Starke185950
Owen181652
Jay177328
Fulton176437
Carroll175618
Perry172435
Orange170450
Rush163922
Franklin158335
Vermillion158040
Tipton145441
Parke137915
Pike127232
Blackford120027
Pulaski105643
Newton96431
Brown94639
Benton91113
Crawford90113
Martin80114
Switzerland7507
Warren74612
Union66810
Ohio52711
Unassigned0425

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events