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Montana Principal Subpoenaed for Illegal Bus Ride

HELEN, Mont. – Montana’s top school administrator has been subpoenaed in the case of a pickup truck that illegally drove by a school bus while being stopped to pick up students in a residential area last week.

Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen was quoted Thursday after speaking with an officer, Lt. Jayson Zander from Helena Police.

According to a police report, a school bus driver said that a vehicle driven by Arntzen passed his bus while it was being stopped at a Helena sub-district to pick up children just after 7:30 am on May 19.

The bus driver recognized Arntzen and wrote down the license plate number of the red pickup truck, the police report said.

A video of the incident “does not show the license plate number of the vehicle involved,” Arntzen’s office said in a statement on Friday.

“Superintendent Arntzen does not recall the alleged incident,” Brian O’Leary, spokesman for the Office of Public Instruction, said in a statement Thursday. “She admits she drives a red pickup and lives in the area.”

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The 2021 Montana Legislature passed legislation to improve bus safety after a student was hit and critically injured in northwest Montana by a driver who drove past a stopped bus in November 2019.

Arntzen testified during a Legislative Committee hearing in February 2021 in support of the bill, which would require schools to use extended stop arms in cases where students would need to cross a lane and doubled the maximum fine for illegally overtaking a school bus $1,000.

Her office on Friday thanked the bus driver who saw the pickup truck pass his bus for his vigilance. The case now goes to the Helena Municipal Court.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/27/montana-schools-chief-cited-in-case-of-illegal-bus-passing/ Montana Principal Subpoenaed for Illegal Bus Ride

Sarah Y. Kim

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