Girl narrowly escapes being struck by driver illegally passing a bus

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Police say a Rockingham County girl is shaken up but OK after a scary situation at a bus stop Monday morning.

WHSV file image of a Rockingham County school bus

According to Virginia State Police, a girl was crossing Rt. 602 on the morning of Nov. 11 to get on her school bus when she was nearly struck by a passing vehicle.

Sgt. Coffey, with VSP, told WHSV that the bus was stopped with lights flashing and its stop sign extended, but a driver in the other lane did not stop for the bus. According to family members who posted their account of what happened on Facebook, the bus driver saw the vehicle approaching and honked, alerting the girl crossing the road, who then sped up to get across.

She barely got out of the way, and the vehicle's mirror struck her backpack.

State Police say she was uninjured. The driver of the vehicle came to a stop after the incident and was issued a reckless driving ticket for passing a stopped school bus.

Police investigation continues. If more information is provided from the investigating troopers, it will be reported here.

Virginia law requires all drivers to stop for a school bus that is flashing lights with a stop sign extended or when a bus is loading or unloading children, even when there is a double yellow line.

Passing a stopped school bus is illegal. You could face a reckless driving charge, a $2,500 fine or even jail time.

The only time you do not need to stop for a school bus is if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a divided highway that has a median or barrier, like a guardrail. If you're in the opposite lane, but there's no median separating the lanes, you are legally obligated to stop for the bus too.

Though the driver in this case stopped after striking the girl's backpack, many drivers who pass a bus without incident do not – that's why more and more buses hhave been equipped with cameras to catch passing drivers.