(The following Letter to the Editor regarding an alleged incident at the corner of East Passaic and Coeyman Avenues in Bloomfield on February 6 was edited for length and clarity.)
Three lives were almost lost Thursday morning, February 6, at the careless hands of a bus driver who had sped through a yellow light on wet roads only feet from a school bus stop (at the corner of East Passaic and Coeyman Avenues).
This is extreme, but not rare. The stupidity the guards see at every stop every day as they risk their own lives for our kids' lives is not rare. And it goes unreported, because cops don't like hearsay. Council people say they like eyes on the ground, so let's do it!
Body cameras for all crossing guards, now!
Wouldn't it be nice to call the cops complaining about a careless driver at a bus stop, and to hear the response, "We'll review the video?”
We need to eliminate the hearsay obstacle. We have the technology. Parents and kids have to take videos every day. We already have past incidents including a guard with a broken leg. If 189 cops have them, 55 guards should!
This is for our lives, our kids' lives, guards' lives, drivers' and pedestrians' lives.
The 74-year-old woman bus driver who nearly injured the crossing guard and a student in the middle of the street at a school bus stop she must have known about – having sped through a yellow light mere feet from it on wet roads – has allegedly lawyered up via her union. After I called the cops immediately after stopping recording, she got two tickets, and Bloomfield Schools has suspended her – WITH PAY – pending the case's outcome, currently scheduled for March 3rd at Bloomfield's Municipal Court.
According to the police complaint filed by the guard and to which I am a witness, since I taped the whole thing, the driver allegedly explained that she didn't see the guard or student, because the bus's wipers kept shutting on and off. This claim is so outlandish that the officer who wrote it, having himself driven to the bus stop, added his own observation that there was not enough build-up of rain to require deployment of wipers at all -- never mind that if her claim were true, she should never have sped through a yellow so close to a bus stop or even taken that bus to begin with that morning!
Nevertheless, I have filed an Open Public Records Act request for the most recent inspection report on that bus, and I will bring it as well as my charged phone with the video on it to court.
Andrew Smith, Bloomfield, NJ