A school bus driver recently was honored by the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation and her school district for her quick-thinking response to a stop-arm violation that could have endangered the lives of students aboard her bus.
Patty Kuntz, a North Branch Area Public Schools bus driver, received an MAPT Safety Awareness Award at a Nov. 2 school district transportation safety meeting for the incident that occurred one day in mid-September. While at a bus stop on a high-speed travel road, Kuntz prevented students from exiting as a driver in a vehicle approaching from the rear did not honor the stop sign and passed by the bus.
Kuntz had checked the road and thought that all surrounding drivers had stopped for the bus after seeing the stop arm out and the bright-red flashing LED lights. Then, as the students were walking toward the bus door to exit, she saw the vehicle approaching and quickly realized that the driver was not going to stop. Kuntz quickly closed the door and kept the students inside.
Immediately after, Kuntz wrote down the vehicle’s license plate and a description of the vehicle to give to the school district, which then passed on the information to law enforcement. State police acted quickly, located the driver and issued a citation.
Bill Burton, director of transportation and grounds for North Branch Area Public Schools, called what Kuntz did remarkable because she was able to act quickly and get the vehicle information all in a matter of seconds.
“I attribute her actions to her being the professional she is, caring about the kids as much as she does and to the training she’s had,” he said. “We are very proud of her.”