Video captures car nearly hitting young girl getting off bus
Chris Herhalt, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:47AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:15PM EDT
Durham Regional Police say video footage of a near miss between a car and a 10-year-old girl who was crossing a street in Pickering after getting off a school bus last month is definitely scary but nobody involved broke the law.
A security camera from the home of one of Rebecca Hillier’s neighbours shows her standing on one side of the street on Shadybrook Drive on the afternoon of Sept. 29.
In the video, Rebecca’s bus driver waves her to cross the street after retracting the barrier and stop sign.
As Rebecca approaches the centre line, a burgundy station wagon speeds towards her. In the video, the girl takes a quick sidestep to her right to dodge the car and get to the other side of the street.
“I heard her screaming from outside on the road so I ran out to see what was happening,” her mother Melissa told CTV Toronto on Tuesday. “It took a good five minutes before I could calm her down.”
“She said ‘mommy, the car almost hit me, he hit my backpack.”
Hillier said she went down the street to find her daughter’s bus or the motorist involved, but found neither.
“I was angry. If you hit a child or almost caused an accident, you should stop.”
She said the bus driver and the driver involved did not report the near miss to anyone.
When she watched her neighbours’ video footage of the encounter, Hillier said she was overwhelmed.
“My stomach dropped and I cried, it was really hard for me to watch.” She then turned the footage over to Durham Regional Police.
She said police told her that the motorist involved, who is also a parent with children who attend Rebecca’s school, said he saw Rebecca cross the street, swerved slightly and applied his brakes.
She said both the bus driver and the motorist involved needed to act with more caution.
“People need to slow down, especially on residential streets. And you don’t pass a stopped bus, even if the driver’s signs are (folded) in, please proceed with caution."
Melissa said the bus driver should not have retracted the stop sign and guard line until all of the 16 kids who get off at Rebecca’s stop have crossed the street.
Police told CTV Toronto that the video depicts a scary encounter. But while the driver should have slowed down, the bus driver may need more training, and Rebecca should have looked both ways before crossing, nothing illegal occurred that afternoon.
In an emailed statement, the Durham District School Board says they were made aware of the near miss on Sept. 30 and assigned a safety officer to investigate.
“With regard to this particular incident, (Durham Student Transportation Services) is working to ensure that all of the students are reminded of bus safety protocols,” a schoolboard spokesperson said.
Stock Transportation, the school bus operator for the Durham District School Board, said they intend on sharing the incident with their fleet of drivers "as a safety reminder."
"The safety of our students is our top priority," a spokesperson for the company said in an email statement. "We are sharing this incident with all of our drivers as a safety reminder. Given this week is celebrated as School Bus Safety Week, a campaign to help raise awareness of student safety as they travel to and from school, our focus remains on reminding all – drivers, students and motorists – that everyone has a role to play in safe student transportation."
Since that incident, Melissa says she has told her daughter to still check both ways when crossing the street, even when a bus driver or another adult indicates it’s safe to cross.