Two other similar incidents on Prince County roads Thursday, Feb. 7
A Kinkora family is hugging their daughter a little closer today after another driver ignored the flashing lights of a school bus, narrowly missing the girl.
Chloee Schneider, 8, was getting off her bus Thursday at her babysitter’s home on Route 225 when the bus driver started frantically honking his horn. The child was still in front of the bus moving to cross the road and froze when she heard the noise.
A small blue hatch-back car, possibly a Nissan Versa, with Nova Scotia license plates, didn’t stop and passed the bus just as she was about to cross the road.
It was one of two such incidents Thursday, with RCMP receiving a similar report from Tignish.
“(Chloee) just stopped and then a little blue car drove right past her,” said Cathy Wright, the child’s babysitter who watched the incident happen.
Wright has four children who come to her home for care after school. She said the two youngest were already in her driveway, when Chloee was about to cross the road and another child was still getting off the bus.
If the bus driver had not been alert and had not honked his horn or if Chloee had decided to bolt across the road instead of freezing, the situation would likely have ended in tragedy, said Wright.
“We got lucky,” added Leisa Campbell, Chloee’s mom.
Campbell said that when Wright first relayed this story to her it took a while for her to absorb the severity of the situation.
“As I travelled home, it just started to sink in, ‘Oh my gosh, my child could be dead right now.’ I was so shocked and so upset at that point,” said Campbell.
The incident in Kinkora and the second one in Tignish occurred around the same time, between 3 and 3:30 p.m.
The RCMP are investigating both.
Regarding the Tignish incident, RCMP say that it happened on Phillip Street. The vehicle was described as an older style grey Pontiac Grand Prix that was travelling east. The driver was female.
Sgt. Darrell Gill said he was unsure whether the children where on the road or still on their bus during the Tignish incident. Regardless, he said, passing a school bus while it’s flashing stop sign is out is incredibly dangerous.
The provincial government recently moved to strengthen the laws regarding the passing of school buses. Failing to stop for a school bus when the red lights are flashing is now punishable by a loss of 12 demerit points, resulting in licence suspension for three months and a fine of up to $5,000.
That was prompted by a rash of reports about such incidents happening on Island roads, including an incident in Albany in October when a young girl had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by an SUV.
Campbell is thankful to have her daughter home safe and commends the bus driver for his alertness. But she also feels like more should be done to try to prevent incidents like this from happening – specifically cameras on school buses to catch drivers who ignore or aren’t paying attention to stop signs.
“If people don’t have consequences, they’re just going to keep doing it,” she said.
Anyone with any information relating to either incident can contact RCMP at 902-853-9300 or leave tips anonymously online with Crime Stoppers or call 1-800-222-8477.