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School bus driver cited in crash that injured Oakcrest student

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A school bus driver failed to properly activate safety features during a stop that resulted in an Oakcrest student being struck by oncoming traffic last month, an investigation found.

Renee Myers, 60, of Millville, was cited for careless driving following an investigation into the Dec. 4 crash on Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, according to reports obtained by BreakingAC through a public records request.

The 15-year-old high school student was seriously injured, and had to be airlifted from the scene.

Richard Brownell, 79, of Selbyville, Del., told police that he was northbound approaching Old River Road when he saw the bus stopped without lights or a stop bar, the report states. He assumed the bus was waiting to make a turn or for traffic to clear.

Video from both the bus and a vehicle stopped right behind it confirmed that neither the safety lights nor the safety bar activated before the student exited the bus, according to the report by Officer Eric Bittmann.

Myers told police she activated the system, but noticed oncoming traffic had not stopped or even slowed. She then looked up and saw the safety lights were not on.

Myers said she then hit the emergency override switch and her horn at the same time.

In a vehicle two spots behind the bus, the driver said he saw the lights come on as the student was struck. His passenger said the lights never came on before the impact.

Videos showed the safety lights and yellow arm bar activate as the student was being struck, the report states.

An investigation of the school bus by state Motor Vehicle Commission inspectors “determined that all warning, running, safety lights and safety devices (were) operating properly without any concerns,” Bittman wrote.

The investigating officer also met with a Sheppard Bus Company representative who demonstrated how the system works.

It was found that Myers failed to properly activate the master switch prior to the stop, which was the first one after leaving the school. It was a late bus, which does not have a set roster, the report said.

Myers also failed to make sure all warning and safety devices were operational before the student exited the bus.

Brownell “would have been unable to perceive and respond to the impending disembarkment and eventual appearance of (the teen) in his lane of travel.”

Blood was taken from both drivers but those results were not available. The eight-page report did not seem to indicate alcohol or drugs were believed to be a factor.

The teen is back in school, sources tell BreakingAC.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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