Dana Monroe said she could see the school bus at the top of the hill at Rives and Vine streets as she turned out of Ridgecrest Drive in Belmont. And when she felt something hit her car, she pulled over.
Monroe was charged May 15 for disregarding a stopped school bus in an incident in which a 5-year-old boy was struck by her vehicle, according to police. But she said, “He ran into the back tire of my car. If he’d run in front of my car, I would have seen him.”
The 30-year-old mother of three was driving two of her children to school, and said the bus stopped as she went past it in the opposite direction. “Children are pretty observant,” she said. “I’m pretty sure my children would have been screaming, Mom, if the stop signs were out on the bus.”
According to police, four witnesses and the bus driver said its stop signs were displayed. Monroe said she was told the bus has a camera. “If the camera says I’m wrong, I’m willing to take responsibility for my action,” she said. “I have children myself.”
C-VILLE has made multiple requests to view video footage, and at press time police were still checking on that.
The statute Monroe was charged under is a reckless driving charge, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, said defense attorney Dave Heilberg, who is not connected with this case.
As for the reliability of eyewitnesses, Heilberg has written the book, or rather, a chapter in the book called “Eyewitness Identification Procedures” in Defending Criminal Cases in Virginia. Said the attorney, “It depends.”