STATESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The driver accused of nearly hitting two kids after failing to stop for a school bus has been arrested, North Carolina State Highway Patrol confirmed Saturday morning.
35-year-old Joseph Pageant Jr., of Statesville, North Carolina, was arrested Saturday morning and faces multiple charges including passing a stopped school bus and careless and reckless driving.
The incident happened around 6:15 a.m. and was captured on video by Iredell-Statesville Schools. A representative for the school district wrote the video “will shake you to your core as you watch a child barely escape being hit by a car.”
Officials said that Pageant’s Kia Soul passed two stopped cars before running through the stop arm of the school bus, where the students had to run to avoid being hit.
Iredell-Statesville Schools released the following statement regarding the incident:
“We want to remind our community to slow down and pay attention. Driving distracted is not worth someone’s life.
If you see a stopped school bus with red flashing lights and extended stop arms, this indicates the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off the bus.
Drivers must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.”
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, it’s illegal in all 50 U.S. states to pass a school bus on an undivided highway when red lights are flashing and its stop-arm is extended — this is known as a “stop-arm violation.”
The NHTSA says that even though the wording of laws varies by state, generally drivers are required to begin slowing down once a bus driver turns on the bus’ flashing yellow lights, indicating an impending stop.
Pageant is being held at the Iredell county detention center under a $20,000 bond.