Driver nearly hit NJ kid getting off school bus; may face hundreds in fines
LAKEWOOD — A driver caught on video passing a school bus as a young girl stepped off the bus and into her driveway has been charged.
The video, captured by a home surveillance camera and posted by the Lakewood Scoop, shows the bus coming to a stop in front of her Lakewood home on a two-lane road. As she reaches the bottom step, the car passes and narrowly misses her, not seeming to make any attempt to stop.
Lakewood Police said the driver of of the bus activated the red stop lights and extended the safety arm.
Lakewood Police identified the driver of the car that passed the school bus as Mariluz Diaz, 47, of Toms River. She received motor vehicle summonses for improper passing of a school bus and reckless driving, and will be in court in January.
Under New Jersey law, improper passing is punishable by a $50 to $200 fine, or imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both. Reckless driving can result in similar fines and up to 60 days in jail on a first offense; subsequent offenses can result in up to three months in jail and fines of up to $500.
The girl's father told the Scoop she was shaken up by the experience and it took a half hour to calm her down.
New Jersey school bus law requires drivers on road with two lanes in each direction to stop at least 25 feet from the bus. Drivers must stop even if they do not see anyone entering or exiting the bus.
According to the state Department of Highway Safety, over the past 32 years 414 students nationwide have been killed while in the process of being picked up or dropped off by a school bus.