Upgrade for Burke Co. buses means more tickets for reckless drivers

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
(News 12 First at 5)

BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The Burke County School District has added a new measure to keep students safe. By installing a new camera system on all their buses, they can identify cars that pass a bus trying to pick up or let off children.

Then what happens? Drivers will end up with a ticket in the mail.

The need for such a change was seen in 2010 when two students were walking to their bus when they were struck by a car.

JaQuan White was one of those students, and he tells News 12 that all he remembers from that morning is that he was in the first grade. The rest is just a blur.

"All I remember is going to the bus stop and crossing the road and I remember just blacking out," JaQuan explained.

JaQuan and his cousin, Trevione Sumpter, were hit by a car in 2010. Their bus driver was traumatized.

"She saw the vehicle was not stopping, she laid in on the horn to get the drivers attention but it was just too late,” Transportation Director Clary Dishmond walked us through that day. “There was nothing she could've done."

Dishmond says he still replays the video in his head.

"Just the impact of what we heard and what we were able to see from our camera that day, it left a lasting impact and effect on all of us."

JaQuan and his cousin were rushed to the hospital. JaQuan was left in critical condition after the accident.

"I don't remember nothing else that day. I remember waking up in the hospital.”

He spent months in the hospital and his parents never left his side.

"He had been in the hospital in Augusta for a little bit, and then they transferred him up to Atlanta for a while and we’re thankful today that he's alive,” Dishmond told us.

JaQuan’s mother had already felt the heartbreak of losing a child to a pedestrian accident.

Now JaQuan is an advocate for safety on school buses.

“When you're around school buses, use caution and be safe."

The cameras are not just on the side of the buses. There are a few inside and one in the windshield as well.

We’re told these cameras don't cost the school a penny. They'll be ready and recording starting Feb.18th.

The fine for anyone who’s caught passing the busses is $250.