Car blows through stop arm near Fulton Co. bus stop where 3 children died
The Fulton County Prosecutor's Office says some people still don't understand that stop means stop when they see red flashing lights on a school bus.
But they're cracking down, and the MAXSTRONG bus safety law is saving lives.
If it weren't for the MAXSTRONG law, Alivia Stahl's best friend, Anna, could have been the next victim from drivers not using common sense.
"I was sitting at the kitchen table and I heard the bus honking. It kind of scared me and I looked up," said Kara Spencer, Anna's mother.
The 2018 tragedy that took the lives of Alivia Stahl and her twin brothers, Mason and Xzavier Ingle, nearly repeated itself on State Road 25 Wednesday morning.
"As soon as I looked up, I saw a car going on the other side of the bus, so it came up from behind the bus and went around the bus as it was stopped," Spencer said.
If it not for the MAXSTRONG bus safety law's mandatory curbside pickup, the incident could have had a much more tragic ending; Anna used to have to cross the street.
"Because Alivia was her best friend, I almost feel like they – because of that, they saved her life," Spencer said. "It's really sad that they had to lose theirs to be able to do this [for] other children."
A video provided by the Fulton County Prosecutor's Office shows other instances of people blowing past school buses with the stop arm out.
"At the end of the day, this is wrong," said Brittany Ingle, the mother of Alivia, Mason and Xzavier. "You're jeopardizing children's safety and their lives, and I'm so glad that, you know, Kara didn't have to bury her daughter and we would have to say goodbye to Anna, too, because no family should ever go through this, which is why I fight so hard."
The cameras on the buses in Fulton County can catch you coming head on, get your plate and get a look at your face.
"Just pay attention," Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Arndt said. "To me, it's just so fundamental, you know. You see red lights, you see a school bus coming up, brake. Even if you don't know if it's stopping or not. It seems like fundamental driving behavior, just pay attention, don't be distracted."
The prosecutor's office says you could face a Class A misdemeanor, thousands of dollars in fines and a felony for repeat offenders. They're taking children's safety seriously.
"With MAXSTRONG, again its proving that during my pain, it's paying off, because I just saved someone's life, my daughter's best friend's life, and that means a lot to me, so we're going to keep fighting," Brittany Ingle said.
It should go without saying, but if you see a bus stopped with that sign out, stop means stop. You don't need to go around it. It's not worth it. It is illegal, highly dangerous and has proven to be deadly.
NOTE: The picture used in this story and the video of drivers going past buses is not the video of the driver in Anna's situation. That incident is still under investigation.