No one should be above abiding by certain rules and laws, especially those who enforce them. Newark Police Chief Barry Connell is no exception. He was found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus in an unmarked police car.
Yesterday, a trial was held in the Licking County Municipal Court and Judge Guy Reece sentenced Chief Connell to pay a $100 fine and court costs. Connell was facing the imposition of a $500 fine and suspended license for up to a year. But Judge Reece took it a little easy on him.
The incident in question happened Oct 10, 2018. Reportedly, Chief Connell was responding to a call of a violent felon fleeing from officers. He testified that his lights and siren were activated on his unmarked car.
The bus driver, Patricia Hughes, testified that she had turned on her flashing yellow lights as she slowed down to drop off a student. Video footage from the bus shows that as Hughes stops the bus, activates the red lights and opens the door, the chief’s unmarked car rushes by on the left. Hughes said she did not hear a siren and did not see police lights coming from behind.
Judge Reece made it clear that there are no exceptions in the law for passing a stopped school bus, not even for emergency vehicles. He said the intent of the law is to protect children.