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Cars caught speeding by bus stop on Highway 31, parents voice their concerns

Posted at 9:59 AM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 10:59:45-04

AXTELL, TX — It's a story every parent needs to see, people speeding in their vehicles past a stopped school bus with red flashing lights.

One particular bus stop for Axtell Independent School District on Highway 31 has caused parents to raise their concerns about the danger their children face every weekday.

"Every time somebody was coming the first half of last week, they just went around the bus and did not stop, the flashing lights did not slow them down at all," said Micheal Hensley, a concerned father.

A problem the Axtell Superintendent, Dr. J.R. Proctor, says they've been dealing with for a long time.

"It's not a new issue, we have this issue every year. I think towards the beginning of school people are getting back into the swing of things."

He has one message for those drivers who may be rushing to work in the morning or not paying attention. "One mistake can haunt you for an entire lifetime. Get to work a few minutes earlier, get to where you need to be a few minutes earlier. In the grand scheme of things, it's not worth a life."

Proctor says officials have bee stepping up to help. Department of Public Safety Sergeant Ryan Howard says drivers must remain vigilant and respect the law.

"You don't know what they are doing when the school bus is stopped but you have to assume that a child is getting on or off the bus. We want to make sure that they are safe so we owe it to them to make sure we stop," said Sgt. Howard.

In August of 2019, a red pick up truck slammed into the back of a school bus at the same bus stop. It caused the bus to shake and a child to fall while getting on the bus.

"As a mom, my heart sank because that could have been my kid and I felt for my neighbor but people do not pay attention," said Deann Sawyers, a witness as the crash.

The speed limit on Highway 31 is 75 miles per hour. A radar gun showed drivers going exactly 75 and over at 77 but when officers are not around, parents say they see cars speed by at all times.

"I do not want to see an accident with my child in it before we make a change," said Hensley.

Parents say they will continue voicing their concerns until something is done and hopefully before a tragedy takes place.

Texas law requires that drivers stop for a stopped school bus with its flashing lights activated and stop arm extended when approaching the bus from either direction unless there is a barrier.

If the law is broken, a fine amount can be up to $1,250 for the first offense and up to $2,000 for the second offense, and even end up in a license suspension.