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Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent speaks out after bus incident

MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent is speaking out for the first time after a Syracuse man blew past a stopped school bus in Manlius last week.

On Saturday, March 30, Manlius Police announced they arrested 66-year-old Quang Van Pham of Syracuse for Reckless Endangerment after he was caught on camera driving a 2010 Toyota Camry, blowing past a stopped school bus on Highbridge Road on Thursday, March 28.

Pham was issued multiple traffic tickets, including failing to stop for a school bus, following too closely, speed not reasonable and prudent, moving from a lane unsafely and reckless driving.

Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent Dr. Craig Tice spoke to NewsChannel 9 on Tuesday, April 2, about the severity of passing a stopped school bus.

“It’s certainly a very scary incident and this does occur in a lot of districts all the time and I think a lapse of judgment [for] even one moment could affect a family and a child’s life forever,” said Dr. Tice.

What made the situation even worse was the possibility of Pham hitting a student. While Pham drove past the bus, a bus monitor was helping a five-year-old student get her backpack on to get off the bus, as seen below from bus footage shared by Manlius Police.

Courtesy of Manlius Police

The Father of the five-year-old told NewsChannel 9 that she is in kindergarten and sits in the very first seat usually.

“As soon as the bus stops, she is getting off,” explained the father. “It is a busy road, people sometimes don’t pay attention. This didn’t feel like that. They absolutely could’ve killed somebody.”

NewsChannel 9 obtained Ring camera footage from the family which showed the driver speeding off in front of their house, which they said left tire marks on their lawn. In the video, you can even hear the car clip the mailbox.

The school bus driver, Miss Debbie, was thanked by students and parents for her courageous actions and bravery on Monday, April 1.

“We’re very proud of Miss Debbie and certainly all of our transportation department employees and I think they’re being modest here because they go through significant training. Her quick reaction I think adverted a tragedy from occurring and they want to call attention to the problem,” said Dr. Tice.

Although the school bus did not have a stop-arm camera, the family’s Ring camera footage and an off-duty State Trooper helped identify Pham’s car, which led to the arrest.

According to Dr. Tice, not all buses have stop-arm cameras, however, every year the district puts out about six buses in a vote to add stop-arm cameras, and it’s estimated that in four years all buses will have those cameras.

“It’s a team effort and certainly throughout all the training it’s nice that it pays off in an instant to avert a tragedy but there’s a lesson for all of us in there, when we see the reds on a stop, on a school bus, we need to stop,” said Dr. Tice.

Anyone with additional information about the incident is asked to contact the Manlius Police Department at (315) 682-2212.

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