A 26 year old man has been charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony passing a stopped school bus, after he struck and killed a 16 year old boy at a school bus stop in late March.
The early police investigation indicated that the 16 year old was crossing the street in Jacksonville, North Carolina to get on the school bus when he was struck by a 1990 Honda Civic driven by Joshua A. Block, 26.
The North Carolina State Police stated that drivers should slow down and plan to stop when they see a school bus’s yellow lights come on. They added that drivers should start to slow as soon as they see the yellow lights flash on, as opposed to slamming on the brakes when the red lights come on.
State troopers downloaded information from Block’s cell phone and car, and are continuing their investigation.
School buses are some of the safest forms of transportation on American roads. Still, approximately six school age children are killed each year in the US in school bus related accidents.
In this North Carolina bus accident, it appears that the Honda driver continued to drive when the yellow lights for the bus came on. Although North Carolina state law states that drivers must stop only when the lights turn red, the driver still has been charged for passing a stopped school bus, as well as felony involuntary manslaughter.
This tragic case highlights the dangers of passing a school bus that is stopping, not just stopped. Children are often crossing the road to get on the bus even when the bus still has its yellow lights on and is only coming to a stop. All drivers should start slowing down as soon as they see those yellow lights come on. If you are in too much of a hurry and wait to slow down when the red lights of the bus are illuminated, a terrible accident can happen.
In our busy society, it is easy to be in too much of a rush and cut corners while driving. Passing a slowing school bus with yellow lights on. Running a red light. Blowing through a stop sign. These actions might save you a few seconds. But one mistake can end up costing you dearly, and could hurt or kill someone.
People who act carelessly while driving and kill someone face jail time and expensive wrongful death lawsuits that can cost them millions of dollars. As Virginia and North Carolina wrongful death attorneys, we urge all drivers to slow down and put safety first.