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Joined: Mar 2011
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Amoeba
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Amoeba
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Hello Everyone, I am in desperate need of some help and advice on a certain event that has recently taken place in my life. I am a school bus driver and have been for the past 4 years. I was a witness to an accident that occurred when an suv tried to pass me on a double yellow line. When he did, he crashed his vehicle into a utility pole and is lucky he is alive let alone no injuries. I stopped my bus, called my supervisor and followed protocol and my supervisor called the police. I was then called into the police station the next day to fill out a witness statement. This happened on March 31st and I just received a CRIMINAL SUMMONS being charged will all types of stuff, including 2 misdemeanors for endangering a person and reckless driving. I have basically went from being a witness to a suspect. The charges implement that I caused the accident and ran him off the road while he was passing me. The suv driver was cited. I was not involved in the accident and there was no contact between the bus and the suv. I got this information last Wednesday and have not been doing well at all. I have been crying on and off, staying up all hours of the night and not eating well (if at all). I am on administrative leave from my job and my job is on the line (also my future if I end up with these charges on my record). I am a professional at what I do and have no police record and have never been in an accident where it was my fault in the 23 years I have been driving. I am going through the "motions" now where I was first in shock, then I was crying, then I was panicing and now I am starting to get depressed. In only 5 days, my sleep pattern has changed drastically. It went from getting up at 4:30am (because I was still working) to staying in bed until around 10am. I am also going to bed way later. I have attained a lawyer (and I don't have to tell you the financial hardship that will be put upon me and my husband) and the lawyer has told me to just plainly calm down and I should not lose sleep over this. Well, I thought what he said would sink in but after thinking about it, these guys are getting paid one way or the other so it is easy for them to say. I have been "charged", not "convicted" and I am already afraid to go out in my own vehicle even to the store! I have also gone to the point of even trying to find other work preparing for the worse. One other thing that is not helping the situation is that I have no one, and I mean NO ONE to talk to. I have no support system whatsoever outside of my husband. My parents passed away at the age of 59 (both of them) within 3 years of each other from cancer about 10-11 years ago and my husband does not have a relationship with his family. I only have 2 friends and they are busy with their own issues and family. Please Help!

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Koala
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So glad you already have an attorney. Traffic laws vary by county and state, however what I don't understand is why you are not charged with traffic violations until 2 months later. My first question is WHO is this guy that crashed? Find out, as he seems to have some major connections. You should be able to get a copy of the traffic incident report for a small fee. The names of the responding officers should be listed and those should coincide with name(s) on the criminal summons you received. If they don't match, there is something really "fishy" going on.

If there were children on the bus, are any of them old enough to recall the incident and testitfy on your behalf?

It sounds like you really enjoy your job and do it well. Instead of allowing yourself to be depressed, get prepared to fight for your job and reputation. Call the attorney's assistant and ask what you can do. It will give you a project to focus on and may save you some on attorney fees.

Does this driver have other traffic violations on his record? They are generally in the public record. A little time at the court house could be revealing. Make sure your attorney has no connection to this person or any of the officers involved, other than professionally.

Read up on the traffic laws concerning school buses for your area. Gear up and DEFEND yourself. And if your attorney thinks none of this is important, maybe you should reconsider your choice, before any fees are charged to your account.


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Gecko
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Ok. First, we need to get you calmed and centered. You do yourself and your family a disservice being this revved up. So let's start there.

Ways to center the self:
Deep breathing exercises in an open space
Soothing music without words
Chamomile tea
Hot bath with candles
Ask your husband for a body rubdown
Read an engaging fiction
Meditation

Herbs:
To get your sleep biorhythm back I suggest looking at Melatonin (of course if you are on prescriptions check with your doctor first) Melatonin is what our body produces to engage sleep. When we go through high periods of stress those levels drop and sleeplessness sets in.

St John's Wort: This is an effective gentle herb that will help curb the extreme highs and lows of your body. This allows your body to actually recharge and store energy rather than "running on empty" through a crisis.

The Event:
There are large chunks of missing data here. Here is what you should look at doing.
1. Write out your version of what happened.
2. Get a copy of the accident report and have attorney show you the the charges.
3. Contact your office and ask why they are not supplying an attorney for you - if you get convicted that means the company is getting sued and they don't want to see that happen.
4. If you have regular drug screenings for work get the latest copy. If there aren't any - go and get one done asap.
5. Get a copy of your driving record.
6. Get character references from your friends, neighbors, colleagues. Get them notarized.
7. Take your attorney's advise - you must calm yourself - If the judge sees you in a state it will go against you. People (particularly judges) will assess whether they like you or not inside 10 seconds.

Alone:
You are not alone. There are people here who can help you with direction and ways to get centered. You have a husband who supports you and even though your friends are busy their positive energy is with you.

Proactive Protection:
While court is going on research other job options and unemployment benefits that might be available. There is an unemployment area in BellaOnline which might prove a good resource of information. Now is a good time to get your resume updated.

Keep your mind busy and focused. The worst possible time to crumble is in the throws of a crisis. I understand that might sound weird.

Here is a technique to bring about a point of clarity for you. Take this situation and look at it as though it were happening to your best friend and you are the person she has turned to for guidance. How would you best guide her? That should provide you with a guideline for direction.

I hope these steps prove useful to you. If you need me to better clarify any point please let me know as I am happy to do so.

Keep positive energy close and believe in yourself. Feel free to seek out suggestions here and listen to the legal advise given you. If you do not believe he has your best interest at heart then do not delay and find another pronto.

Blessings that you find quick resolution in your time of turbulence.

Last edited by Deb - Animal Life; 06/10/11 12:02 AM.

I look forward to reading your comments.

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Shark
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I can't give you a whole lot more advice than Jane and Deb.

However, yes-melatonin does work! It really helped me out and when there are exceptions, a big ol' stinky Valerian will get you to sleep.

Also--you just reached out to BellaOnline so you are instantly no longer alone!

Jane has it right with taking the time to look at and into details-legal and otherwise. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes a day to just sit outside and soak in the day. Sometimes a mini relax break can make a big difference!

Deb gave you a great suggestion for not just getting, but giving a nice massage to your husband. If you really like grooming maybe some soothing hair brushing will help. It's simple but it's a great way to feel loved and calmed.

Good luck and best wishes


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Jellyfish
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From one professional driver to another, if there was no contact of the vehicles and no witnesses on his side...just do what the lawyer told you to do...calm down and let him do his job. You have a good driving record to back you up, along with the fact that there is no evidence to his claim. This is all in your favor, not his. It is unfortunate this guy is trying to wring this on you and it will happen, but don't play into this and start acting like you are guilty or that you will suffer something terrible from it (other than needing to pay a lawyer).

I know it is quite scary, especially when you take safety seriously and go above and beyond everyday to make sure you are the best driver out there on the road. It sounds like this is what you have been doing and will continue to do. You were only doing your job by the rules to report an accident. You need to really hunker down and get rid of the unnecessary junk thoughts that will make you behave like you are guilty. In fact, I would be more angry than anything at some guy trying to pin his irresponsibility on me. Don't use fear and depression to repress that. Just get angry and stand your ground, with grace and poise knowing, the truth will come out as it is.

If you won't do that for yourself who will (besides your lawyer)? Besides, you deserve to clear yourself and let this guy be seen for who he is. Yes, you absolutely deserve that. When you win the case, write back on this forum and let us know.

Last edited by GoodMorningSunshine; 06/13/11 02:29 AM.
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Parakeet
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Hello Stormchaser,

Not just any old body is given a job as a SCHOOLBUS DRIVER! I am sure you have considered this but have you actually thought about the precious cargo you carry daily to and from your various stopping points?

Not just any old school will put into your hands the same children that they care for and educate on behalf of the Moms and Dads who trust them with their children AND

Not just any old body will take on that responsibility DAILY unless they were strong smart responsible and good at what they do.

Your report above notes that you went by the book and did everything you were supposed to do. When your supervisor came or the police or anyone in authority that you have spoken to since, has anyone (besides the suv driver etc) indicated any wrong doing on your part either at the time of the incident or since then? It doesn't seem so or you would have told us.

Don't give way your power to anyone, least of all someone of this low moral character.

Keep your present employer completely up to date with what is happening in a positive professional and objective way. Offer to be in on any meetings or discussions with parents who may have heard something and may be concerned. Take proactive and positive action in all you do.

If you are looking for another job I hope it will be driving for another school! I bet your kids are missing you!

Bellaonline is a very powerful ally - come back and visit us often, you will need more than a lifetime to understand the love and support everyone connected here has to offer.

P.S. IF and I say again IF this case gets to court and you need to go before the judge ... make sure you have eaten something light but foodful and wear your uniform if you have one and are allowed to wear it or black and white. Those colours always make a person look smart.

Best wishes for a speedy and positive outcome Stormchaser (cool handle!)

Last edited by Lestie - ContainerGardens; 06/13/11 04:00 AM.

Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

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Jellyfish
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Lestie,

Well said!

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Amoeba
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Amoeba
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I am greatful for your comments and support. But, at this point, there is evidence for me and against me. First, there is video footage. Schoolbuses in 90% of the districts now have video surveillace (sp). The cop is saying that I moved into his lane and caused the accident, whereas, both my boss AND the director of the school district has seen this footage and stand behind me that they see nothing of the sort. There is also the mention of a witness for the prosecution. I was told it was a truck driver who was coming the other way but he was not in sight until "AFTER" the accident so any information would be what he saw "AFTER" the accident (unless he lies). Also, this ******* who tried to pass me could have seen the truck coming last minute and decided to bail or face the consequence of getting hit head-on. The suv driver is not injured. And what is funny is that it is not the suv driver that is pressing the charges, it is the police department. On the summon is says "The State of *****" -vs- StormChaser. When I was going through free legal consultations to find a lawyer, one of the lawyers said that it seems like this guy (suv driver) has connections with the police or legal system. Guess what, my boss said the same thing when we discussed it a couple days later. Who knows that maybe this guy has money and went as far as threatening the police if they didn't take it further. I am not educated in the court system and understandably so. I agree that I do have a high level of ignorance on this subject, but, that is due to NOT being part of the criminal system and have never been through this before. When I hired my lawyer, I gave him the police report, my court papers with charges, my witness statement and told him that there could of been a witness for the prosecution and there is video footage. Even with my lawyer not having the other witness statements and the video, he told me not to worry and he is going to try to get this thrown out.


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Parakeet
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Stand firm Stormchaser.

Make sure you keep copies of all documentation you hand over to any person of authority from the Police department to the School to the Lawyer and if you haven't then get get copies now. Do it calmly and tread softly by saying you just want them for your records and interest. By tread softly I mean do not demand them. People have a way of becoming otherwise and contrary in the strangest places and ways. Of course there may be some papers that are not available to you. Those are not what I refer to here. The papers I am talking about are yours and anything you have given to the school or filled in or signed etc. Get everything confirmed in writing for yourelf and or never have a conversation with anyone without a reliable witness. Do not use your husband as a witness.

And while you are waiting for these copies which you will actively go and fetch, remember to keep copies of everything from now on.

I hazard a guess that 90% of people are ignorant of the legal system so you are not alone and are not expected to be that knowledgable, so do not let that cloud your mind, stay focused. Just keep your head do not be dismissed by your Lawyer who says 'we'll try to get this thrown out' With all due respect, keep close and follow up. Trying is not doing.

And do tell him that you are considering nothing less than all legal costs of this case to be reimbursed and absorbed by whomever is bringing this action to court AND that he should see to it. Nothing less. All expenses. If this were me, and they are lucky it is not me, I would be gearing up for a 'return' case of harrassment, defamation of character, and trauma with potential loss of earnings due to career interuptions.

This incident is not of your making. Had you not stopped and reported it as you should have done and did, who knows what may or may not have happened. Further, do not be overwhelmed by video footage. It is what it is and will show what it does. As the Driver of the bus, why have you not seen the footage?

Do not be be bullied. Stand firm.

Best regards Stormchaser,

Last edited by Lestie - ContainerGardens; 06/13/11 10:48 AM.

Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

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Jellyfish
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This is not making sense. Did you move over into the lane? Wasn't the driver cited at the time of the accident? Were you?

As far as your worry that this guy is connected to the legal system, that just may not be the case. With all the recent accidents with coach and school buses, there is an increase of investigations, preventative measures and laws. And if he is, he cannot thwart the video evidence anyhow.

All in all stand your ground and let the lawyer do what he does best. I understand now why you are so upset, but hang in there.

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