Manteca Police issued numerous tickets Wednesday in its initial crackdown of motorists who ignore the law requiring them to stop when school buses have their red lights flashing.
The biggest concentration of tickets was on Lathrop Road near the Calvary Community Church – an area where some 15 citations valued at $150 each were issued to errant motorists.
Sgt. Josh Sweeten was in charge of the safety detail. Motorcycle Officer John Machado stopped four drivers at one time for allegedly ignoring the red lights on the school buses. A motorcycle officer reportedly stopped one driver who allegedly whipped around a bus with him quickly giving pursuit, reaching speeds of 65 miles an hour in a residential zone before she was stopped.
Shortly after 1 p.m. officers converged on the 1000 block of West Yosemite Avenue at a point the Route H, Calla High bus routinely stops in front of the Hafer Furniture Store sign. Finding no violators there, they moved onto the corner of Wawona Street and Winters Drive, then to West Woodward Avenue and Bella Terra and then to Oakwood Shores first gate drop off point.
They continued to monitor traffic on West Alameda Street and onto Lathrop Road and at Clearwater Creek Boulevard at Mill Chase. At 3:30 p.m. they patiently waited for the arrival of a Route H buses on South Airport Way where the first bus was seen activating first its yellow warning lights and then its red stop lights with half a dozen cars in each direction continuing to pass the vehicle that also had displayed its red hexagon shaped stop sign from its side panel.
To end the day’s assignment two motor officers and a patrol unit again monitored Lathrop Road for a final school bus run. It’s all an effort to keep out kids safe, officers said.
One Manteca merchant told of seeing a small school bus stop to load passengers recently at the corner of Grant Avenue and Center Street. He had stopped for the flashing red lights and a nicely dressed woman in a late model car apparently agitated drove around him and the bus flipping him off as she drove by his car and the bus.
The traffic fine for ignoring the activated red lights is $150 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation and a possible loss of driver’s license.
Traffic units will again be out in force this morning between 7:30 and 8 a.m. however the assignments will not be noted until their morning briefing.
California state law requires drivers in both directions to stop whenever a school bus has activated its flashing red lights and stop signal arm. Drivers must remain stopped until the flashing red lights are turned off. Flashing yellow lights mean that motorists should slow their vehicles and prepare to stop. If the school bus is on the other side of a divided roadway with two or more lanes in each direction, drivers do not need to stop.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email Gkahl@mantecabulletin.com.