School board member ticketed for passing school bus

- If anyone should have known better, it was probably him.

Douglas County Board of Education member Devetrion Caldwell apologized after police caught him driving past a school bus as it was dropping off children.

Caldwell was just elected to the school board in November. Adding to the irony of the situation, Douglas County has led a push to
increase public awareness of this danger, producing effective public service announcements and posting warnings on its website for drivers to slow down when they see a school bus.

Caldwell was ticketed February 1 after a Douglasville police officer set up surveillance of a school bus stop on Hospital Drive that bus drivers complained had a large number of violators race by.

"As the vehicle passed (the police officer) he observed the bus driver screaming out of the driver's side window and pointing at the vehicles as they approached," city solicitor Lois Gerstenberger told the court.

One of those vehicles was Caldwell's 2006 black Mustang.

"How did he not miss the school bus stop sign?" I asked his attorney.

"I'm not going to get into the facts of the case," replied Olivia Smith. "He's acknowledged that he's made a mistake. He's taken responsibility for making that mistake."

Georgia has one of the highest numbers of student deaths during bus loadings and unloadings, 13 during a recent five-year period according to the state Board of Education. Thousands of other drivers are caught on bus security cameras each year, ticketed for doing what Devetrion Caldwell did.

Caldwell pled no contest and immediately paid a $653.38 fine.

But taking responsibility apparently does not include answering a reporter's questions. Caldwell stood mute next to his attorney, refusing to even answer the most obvious question.

"What do you have to say to the people who elected you?"

Instead, his attorney responded once again.

"I think what he'd say to those people is they elected a person. And when you elect a person, you know people make mistakes."

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