Imagine my surprise when I received a call last week from the Payson Police Department. The officer told me he would discuss with me the subject when I returned his call. Well, I tried to call him back but he was off, so I spent the weekend a bit worried about what it was about. However, since I hadn’t broken any law I knew off, I shrugged it off.
When I called the officer he told me that a school bus driver had taken down the license number of my vehicle a few weeks past when he was stopped with his red lights on Country Club. I remember that bus and the driver never turned on his lights until I had passed him. I thought that odd but didn’t do anything at the time.
I told the officer the story that the driver had indeed pulled off to the right side of the road and had not turned on his red lights so I passed him not quite knowing what he was doing. That was my story and the officer thanked me for my candid response.
After talking with the officer, I talked to a friend across the street and he told me a story of him driving in the opposite direction on the same street a month back and that he finally passed a school bus after the driver stopped but didn’t turn on his red lights either.
Later that day, I talked with a doctor friend of mine who told me that he was driving on Payson Parkway about a month ago and came upon a school bus that was stopped on the other side of the street and that his red lights were not on either. He proceeded carefully just as two kids ran out in front of the bus and in front of his car. He said he barely missed the kids and was really upset.
I called the police officer back today and told him the two additional stories and said that maybe it’s time to have a talk with school bus drivers in Payson about putting on their red lights before they come to a full stop so people don’t drive past and possibly injure some children.
Mine was not an isolated case and I’ll bet that there are many drivers in the Payson area who can tell us their own stories about the same thing.
Let’s not point blame, but ask the police department to have a talk with all bus drivers in our school district and let them know that there is a problem that needs to be solved.
I hope this incident doesn’t include an injured or killed child who wasn’t properly protected by the school bus drivers. I hope this letter goes a long way toward that goal.
Jeffrey L. Robbins