How new law could help police catch school bus offenders

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A bill signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe will make it easier to prosecute cases involving cameras on school buses.

A camera mounted on a school bus captured a Central Virginia boy being struck by a car as he was trying to get on the bus.

Amy Ford cherishes her sons, Corbin and Ollie, so the thought of nearly losing one of them still haunts her.

"They're best friends," she said. "We play family Mario cart on Friday nights."

WTVR reporter Sandra Jones and Amy Ford

WTVR reporter Sandra Jones and Amy Ford

WTVR CBS 6 spoke with Ford and her son Ollie last year after he was struck by a car while walking to the school bus.

"He bounced right back up and he ran up the driveway and back to me," Ford remembered. "We met each other sort of halfway. I'm screaming, the bus driver is laying on the horn."

Surveillance video inside of that Chesterfield county school bus captured the terrifying moments.

After the accident, Ford became a vocal proponent of putting cameras on the outside of school buses to deter drivers from illegally passing them when the stop sign was extended.

Ford said without that video there would have been nothing to go on.

School bus video

School bus video

But the pilot program in Chesterfield was halted, after the attorney general ruled that parts of that program violated state law.

Now, a new law just signed by the governor should give them the green light.

The law will allow officers to send citations through the mail, where as before they would have had to hand deliver them. That would have been a tremendous burden for most city and county police departments.

"It keeps us accountable," said Ford. "And we're talking about children here. Can you imagine if he would've died and what my story would be today?"

Students board school buses

Students board school buses

While that bus camera pilot program was in effect, Chesterfield police reported more than a dozen violations a day.

However, Chesterfield County officials said at this point there have been no additional discussions to continue the program.

Henrico County officials said there are no plans of implementing stop-arm cameras at this time.

Officials with Richmond Public Schools said the district is evaluating the program to see if it is safer for students.