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MPD issues 10 more tickets for ignoring buses
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Police start chasing a driver who ignored the red stop lights on a Manteca Unified school bus in the 1000 block of West Yosemite Avenue shortly after noon on Thursday. A girl is seen walking across the roadway where the motorist was seen passing moments before officers reacted. Officer April Smith followed the driver to a store in the nearby parking lot. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Ten more drivers were slapped with $150 tickets by Manteca Police on Thursday for ignoring red flashing lights on Manteca Unified school buses.

It was the second day of school bus red light enforcement. The traffic officers on motorcycles and in patrol cars once again targeted different locations throughout the day – beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending about 3:30 p.m. as the last of the school children were let off near their homes.

In the early morning hours officers handed out eight citations to motorists who drove right past the buses that had activated flashing red lights. They began once again on Lathrop Road where 15 were cited in the first hour Wednesday.  Later in the day they would add a few more citations to that number. 

At 1:20 p.m. Thursday in the 1000 block of West Yosemite Avenue, a bus stopped and let off a group of students with all of them walking down the sidewalk and through the parking lot by Hafer’s Home Furnishings.  As another girl exited the bus and began to walk across the street past the rear of the bus, a white SUV  passed in front of her and then turned into a driveway. The driver missed seeing or maybe recognizing what the red lights meant.

The reaction of two Manteca Police patrol units was swift, however, as the driver turned to the left behind the bus and into the shopping center parking lot.  One of the officers stayed right behind the vehicle until he parked it in front of a series of small shops in the center where it was explained to him what he had done wrong through the use of an interpreter – and he signed the citation. 

There was heavy traffic in the afternoon on Lathrop Road westbound approaching Airport Way with several oncoming buses caught in the snarl of cars and trucks.  Two black and white patrol units parked on the north side of the road adjacent to an almond orchard and two motorcycle officers sat on their motor units across the street.  

Traffic continued to use the long middle left turn lane to approach Airport Way hoping to make a left-hand turn at the intersection.  One motor officer had a car stopped on the bridge to the west and the remaining officer apparently got tired of seeing traffic illegally use that long center left turn lane, finally giving chase and handing out a citation – noting the total number of tickets was probably down because motorists had learned how to contact and warn each other through social media links on their cell phones. 

The bus drivers were well aware of the police activity and would give a friendly wave to officers as they drove past. 

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