Kanawha Co. shares school bus footage after state survey about illegal passing

A bus driver for Kanawha County Schools vividly remembers a scary near-miss involving an illegal pass by a motorist.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 4:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - At the front of a Kanawha County School bus, driver Dedra Jenning drives as the camera picks up the sound of her telling a child goodbye.

The child gets off, and Jenning’s heart stopped.

A car passes right by, in front of the child she just watched step off her bus. It was the scariest near-miss Jennings had seen in her five years as a school bus driver.

“Oh, it is very scary. I thought that the worst had already happened and when I saw that car go by, I just blew my horn and the tears started flying,” Jennings said.

Video shared by Kanawha County Schools of illegal passes in the last few months shows too many drivers pass school buses when the stop sign is extended.

One driver was caught passing illegally on MacCorkle Avenue in Charleston.

That is when police lights turned on and that vehicle was pulled over, according to Kanawha County Schools Transportation Director Brett Farley.

“It is scary that is every day someone is running your lights. That is a lot of kid’s lives right there,” Jennings said.

Another video shows a coal truck taking a curb too fast and running the bus off of the road.

“I think infuriating is the right word,” Farley said about the coal truck.

Farley’s responsibility is to ensure all Kanawha County students make it to and from school.

Farley said a state survey showed responses from 2,300 out of 4,000 school bus drivers.

“Bus drivers will say, ‘we encounter this every day,’ ” Farley said. “We don’t have as many as everybody, but we have several thousand per day.”

The survey shows just how often drivers are willing to put innocent lives at risk to shave off a few seconds of driving time.