South Bend police chief discusses icy conditions, school bus safety

South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski joined Tricia Sloma on 16 Morning News Tuesday to talk about the morning's icy conditions and school bus safety.

Ruszkowski discussed the U.S. 20/31 Bypass -- one of the area's most treacherous roads in the winter. He said conditions are particularly bad from U.S. 31 to Ironwood.

"The catch all -- we have the majority of our crashes on those on ramps, but I can tell you one thing: speed is a factor in every single one of those crashes," he said.

Ruszkowski also touched on school bus safety.

It's a topic Tricia Sloma has been following closely in her series, "Never Again: Preventing Bus Stop Tragedies," ever since three kids were hit and killed by a pick-up in October at a bus stop in Fulton County.

Tricia pointed to an Indiana Dept. of Transportation study that showed 132 violations in just one day of 2018.

Ruszkowski said SBPD is looking for confirmation on the numbers to see how many violations were in city limits.

"We have 260 something bus stops in the entire county... as you know, we have 19 officers at a time assigned to beats that are working 24/7 365 not counting supervisors and other personnel, but even doing the math there, we're talking over 100 stops in South Bend themselves, and we just don't have enough personnel to maintain all those," Ruszkowski said.

Editor's note: These statistics from the one day school bus violations are compiled from morning, midday and night, which contributes to the high volume and not to the number of stops the Chief was referring to. We continue to urge people to be mindful of school buses on the roads.

In terms of stop arm cameras, Ruszkowski said the St. Joseph County prosecutor assured him he'll take cases to trial if they have probable cause. Ruszkowski is urging people not to wait to slow down until they get caught on video.

"Kids are going to be kids... we're behind a 4,000 pound vehicle and you don't get a do over," he said.