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Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 9:35 a.m.

Bus driver ticketed after striking pedestrian in Ann Arbor

By Lee Higgins

A Central Academy school bus driver has been cited for failing to yield after he struck a pedestrian who was crossing Birch Hollow Drive in a crosswalk Tuesday night, Ann Arbor police said.

The pedestrian, a 63-year-old Ann Arbor woman, was knocked to the ground by the bus at about 5:50 p.m. and taken by ambulance to University of Michigan Hospital for treatment, police said.

She was knocked unconscious, a family member said, and suffered two cracked ribs and a broken right leg. She remains hospitalized tonight, but could be released tomorrow. She then will have to spend a week or two in a rehabilitation center, her family said.

Nineteen children were on the bus, but no one was injured, according to police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Renee Bush. The driver, a 53-year-old Ypsilanti man, was making a left turn from southbound Stone School Road to travel east on Birch Hollow Drive when he hit the pedestrian, who was walking north, Bush said. School officials said the bus driver was taking students, mostly middle school-aged, home after an afterschool program.

Luay Shalabi, the principal of the PreK-12 public charter school, has spoken with the driver and hospital staff. He said it's his understanding the bus was traveling slowly.

Shalabi said it was raining out when the accident occurred, the bus had a car in front of it, and the woman walked between the car and the bus. He said the driver did not see the woman.

Shalabi said the driver continues to work for the school and school officials plan to review the reports on the accident.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

How about a law that says if you're walking along a road or crossing them in the dark you must carry a flash light. Where's the common sense?


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

The idea that a law that drivers needs to give pedestrians in crosswalks right-of-way is to blame for this pedestrian being struck in a crosswalk is very far-fetched. It's about like Reagan's trickle-down theory, that the way to make low-income people better off is by giving the money to high-income people. Backwards thinking is always a tough sell.

Ann English

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

In the 1990s, school bus riders were taught to walk out at least ten feet in front of their school buses before crossing in front of them, as they went home. We've all read of school bus drivers not seeing children cross in front of the buses after the children get off. Perhaps it would be a good idea for adults to cross streets well ahead of school buses, too, where the bus drivers can see them better. That isn't likely to be possible for a pedestrian crossing between a car and a bus. Years ago, a UM bus driver was cleared of charges after it was revealed that the Howell woman who was run over by his bus had not been paying attention to traffic on either side of her. She was hurrying through the rain, with her umbrella blocking her peripheral vision. He didn't have time to avoid hitting her.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

While I feel sorry for both the pedestrian (I hope she heals quickly) and the bus driver, one has to wonder what prompted someone to think it's OK to walk between cars. We are all too much in a hurry these days. I know it was raining and no one wants to be out in it, but a few more seconds might have averted this whole fiasco. I hope that this accidents draws the attention of the council so that better lights and better crosswalks are put up in that area. I want to stress again that we are putting all of the blame on the driver. Two parties were involved in this. I think the blame, if there should be any at all, should be 50-50. If you are watching for traffic to clear, your attention is on that. Your first thought is to not get hit or hit another car. I can understand why he said he didn't see the pedestrian. I'm sorry he didn't. Should he? Yes. Should the pedestrian just walk out in traffic whenever they feel like it? No. The big metal box always wins.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

I know we are 5 days from the shortest day of the year, but with the cloud cover and moisture, I think I was surprised by how incredibly dark it was around 5:15 yesterday. That's the peak of drive time and in a place like Ann Arbor, that also makes it the peak of walk time. As others have said on here, law or not, it's everyone's responsibility (drivers and pedestrians) to exercise more caution especially at that time of day. I noticed it was really difficult to see pedestrians in areas that weren't well-lit. And some do just dart across the middle of the street when the driver isn't expecting it and going 30-35 mph (let alone those who speed) and in wet weather, sudden stopping becomes that much more difficult.

Dan Lanuti

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

I agree with Ron Granger, this accident has nothing to do with the new law. It is the driver's responsibility to insure the road is clear. I know how tough it is driving in the dark with rain. Hyper-vigilance is called for in those circumstances. Thankfully, the woman hit will recover from her injuries. The outcome could have been a lot worse.

Kurtis S

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

COME ON PEOPLE!!!! It was 5:50pm and raining!!!! You can't see someone walking across in the dark + rain.

Fat Bill

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

The words ""I never saw the pedestrian" are ridiculous when being uttered by a school bus driver. This isn't a turnip truck we're talking about here; the very essence of school bus operations involve pedestrian safety. Competent drivers are taught to continuously scan the road ahead, off to both sides, and all mirrors, because you never know when a child will be around the bus. School bus drivers have to be held to a very high standard; apparently not all schools do.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

To this school? It is a turnip truck. The things I've seen them do? Scares me to death. As for the mirrors? We are magicians. We do it with mirrors all the time.

Ron Granger

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

A whole lot of "blame the victim" in these comments. The principal's excuse is not consistent with the reported facts. The driver was making a left turn and had an obligation to make certain the intersection was clear. The pedestrian was coming from the opposite direction. This has nothing to do with Ann Arbor's new crosswalk law. This reads like just another careless driver who was not paying attention. Isn't this the same school that wants to significantly expand and claims the increased traffic will be a non-issue?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

A small battery operated "strobe" type light buttoned to a jacket may be found at the dollar store! Personal responsibility of watching for buses or any vehicle of several tons and protecting one's self seems to be part of our built in will to live don't you think?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

This clearly illustrates the dangers posed to our city by the scourge of school buses. Join me in urging the city council to pass a resolution banning school buses from the city of Ann Arbor. Won't someone think of the children??


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

They are busing kids across town for NO REASON. I live within 1 mile of three elementary schools. Where does my kid go? Across I-94 AND Stone School road, adding to the traffic issues they already have. Not to mention the waste of gas.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

If you can't see the driver then the driver can't see you, whether you're in a car or walking.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

Actually, the new law has nothing to do with this. Birch Hollow has stop signs and anyone turning onto Birch Hollow from Stone School Road, in either direction, would have to allow the pedestrian to cross first. Now, if hypothetically a person was traversing on the sidewalk along Birch Hollow Road, and there was a dedicated and marked cross walk across Stone School road there, those drivers on both Stone School Road , and Birch Hollow, would have to wait for the pedestrian to cross before going on their merry way. Alternatively, if there is no dedicated cross walk going across Stone School road at Birch Hollow, then under the old law, and the new law, the pedestrian has to wait with the poultry and cross when it is safe. I do hope the Pedestrian is ok, and I agree with others, I have seen School Buses barreling through neighborhoods too, and have had to jump out of the way. I am not going to say whether they were public or private, but in reality, they are mostly all private, since public schools are primarily utilizing private busing. Hey, when did the spell check feature get added? It is about time!!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

This crosswalk law in Ann Arbor is giving people a false sense of security. I try to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, but sometimes it's just not possible. Many times when it's dark, I can't see the person waiting there until I'm already so close to the crosswalk that it's not possible for me stop safely. It also seems there is an increase in pedestrian/car accidents. Why can't the city just admit that this new law is unsafe?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

I totally agree with those who say the new law causes this type of bold and rude pedestrian behavior, and unsafe reactions by drivers. I recently saw a group of people crossing Packard at a bus stop NOT in a crosswalk, and uninformed drivers stopped mid-block nearly causing rear-end collisions.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

@ James, Why do you assume it is all "lefties" that are for this law. I identify as one of the "lefties" and I am not a fan of this law at all. I am a pedestrian, cyclist, driver, bus rider and a proud tax paying liberal and I think this law is a terrible idea. Then again I also life off Plymouth road where this law has had, dare I say, the largest negative impact.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

I see this all the time on campus, down town, and in the general AA area. There are jaywalking laws in Michigan, the police here just choose not to enforce them. Since my opinion seems to be drowned out by the lefties in Ann Arbor who don't want people driving anyway, I will just continue to point out all of the accidents as a result of this law. How many people need to get hurt or die before the city can finally admit they are wrong?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

On campus, the most flagrant violators are UoM bus drivers. Does anyone monitor their compliance?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Just commenters.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

One wonders how the recent ordinance has changed pedestrian behavior. I've definitely seen an increase of pedestrians stepping out into crosswalks without looking. It just seems to me that it is safer to make pedestrians give right of way at non signaled crosswalks. This is because cars are much more visible than pedestrians especially at night and also because pedestrians can stop more quickly. Also, because when there is an accident, the pedestrian is going to suffer more.

Atticus F.

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Who's responsible for this law? I want a list of names of every city council member that approved this!!!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

She was in a crosswalk at an intersection.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

This doesn't surprise me. I often find myself on Packard in the vicinity of a Central Academy bus (in both the morning and the afternoon) and have often observed the driver driving too fast for road conditions, traffic volumes and driving too close to other vehicles. I always try to put as much distance between myself and the Central Academy bus as possible.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

I, too, have seen the Central bus being driven "aggressively". Har d to if it is the same driver though

G. Orwell

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

Every time there is an incident like this, those politicians that voted to allow pedestrians to have the right of way, should receive the same punishment as the driver. Our clueless politicians are going to get someone killed very soon unless they get rid of this dangerous ordinance. Doesn't anyone have any common sense in our government?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

actually they don't, but when they are successful who is left to prosecute? you know we outsource suicide dont you? there was a great Frontline on it.

G. Orwell

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

@John Q People have the right to commit suicide. Should our politicians make it easier!

John Q

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Pedestrians have a right to cross at a crosswalk.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4 p.m.

While this is a shame, I'm amazed that someone walked in-between a turning car and a turning bus, at night, while raining. Then, seeing that the bus was not stopping, this pedertrian continued on. There is a need for personal responibility. I've never had someone do this wjhile I have been driving, except perhaps a UM student downtown, and while texting and looking the other way.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

In a crosswalk? Idoubt there was a car in front of the bus.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

Be Careful and don't let yourself get distracted especially when it is dark.

Dave Brueckner

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

I drive in that area every day and find that the new law has encouraged people to walk in front of vehicles. Cross walk or not, people are hard to see, especially on a dark rainy day. Please, lets start using our heads and watch out for cars. A law won't fix your broken bones or bring you back to life. THIS LAW HAS ENCOURAGED PEOPLE TO JAY WALK and the AAPD never pays any attention to that or the numerous bikes that disregard all laws.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Two days ago I saw a pedestrian, angry that a car hadn't stopped for him while he waited at a crosswalk, start crossing the road and then stop to yell and gesticulate wildly at the driver (who likely didn't even see his response in the rearview). In the meantime, a car who didn't expect the pedestrian to stop in the middle of the road had to brake very hard to not smash him. Folks, everybody has to take some responsibility, including pedestrians. As Ignatz wisely said, you may be dead right.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

While I feel school bus drivers have a very difficult job I have also seen some bus drivers go through my neighborhood at higher than posted speeds and ignore stop signs. I also have noticed most of them are drivers for Central Academy and other private schools. Some of those drivers need to understand the heavy responsibility they have in transporting children safely.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

If you do a google search for private schools in Ann Arbor you will get the list. For charters? Same thing. Ann Arbor has its public schools that can be all named if you go to their web site. Otherwise, most private schools hire out district buses and pay them this fee rather then hiring their own drivers, buses and maintenance. Central owns 4 buses I think and maintains them I believe either themselves or thru the bus lot at AAPS transportation.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

If Central Academy is not private why do they have their own buses? With all the cutbacks in transportation services at the public schools in Ann Arbor and surrounding districts this seems like a waste.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

CA is a charter school. Driving school buses is hard job with a lot of responsibility. If we really want to make all these demands of the drivers (which, btw, make sense - I do agree), maybe we should pay them more, hmmm?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Can you please name the private schools?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

I have to agree that I've seen some unsafe driving by bus drivers - by AAPS buses, Central Academy buses (it's a public charter school, not a private school), and by Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy buses. I'd rather see a bus going too slow than too fast, but I see a lot of buses running red lights, not stopping for pedestrians, and speeding.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

Which "public" school district is Central Academy affiliated with?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

Central Academy is not private.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Stone School doesn't have any cross walks between Eisenhower/Packard and Ellsworth. There are a lot of people that ride the AATA buses and have to cross the street to get to their homes. The road is in awful shape, there aren't any crosswalks, the shoulder of the road is awful and people drive far too fast in that area. It is especially bad just north of the bridge over I-94 because you can't see if cars are coming. I worry about people crossing that road. We need cross walks for this area!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

no we don't the AA Awficials have mandated every driver be retrofitted for precognition instead. problem solved!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

another crosswalk accident! got to drive smarter with people and crosswalks.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:02 p.m.

Also, gotta walk smarter.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

I was stuck in traffic of the accident and it was very scary to see the EMS team working on this woman. I wasn't sure what had happened at the time except that someone had been hit. Conditions were not great and lighting in that area is poor. If this poor woman walked out to cross the street, I can understand where the driver may not have seen her until the last minute.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

It's tough to see a pedestrian in the dark and rain, especially given some of the clothing choices we make. Both those driving and those walking need to be extra careful in these conditions. Unfortunately, a pedestrian may be in the right, but be dead right.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

I feel terrible for the bus driver. Slam on the brakes and risk injuring a child, or keep going and knock down a person who walks in front of buses? The choice is easy, hopefully his school will lawyer him up.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

O my, here we go again. Seat belt on bus debate. Washington State has them but yet most states don't. I would rather not if I have to get 60 of them off in a matter of minutes. As for the preschool? They are buckled in but I would hate to think of having to get them off in a matter of minutes. Knock on wood.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

The last thing we want is any school bus driver to be applying the brakes! There would be a very small chance that a child might be injured!! You're kidding, right?

Jake C

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Good question. Here's some explanation to why buses don't have seat belts: &quot;If cars have seat belts, why aren't they generally required in school buses? Because modern school buses are already remarkably safe, and because seat belts don't work the same way in buses as they do cars, research shows. Numerous federal and academic studies have concluded that school buses are the safest form of ground transportation of all, in fact. The National Safety Council says they're about 40 times safer than the family car.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4 p.m.

In that regard, I still don't get it. Why do children in cars have to be in a special seat, and later, as all of us, buckled up, when one of our most precious loads of cargo, a busload of kids, has totally unprotected kids sitting loose in a big yellow rolling box?! Are we ever going to deal with this? Projectiles is right!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

Peregrine he had 19 possibly projectiles on board, not an easy choice for sure.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

@ Peregrine- It depends on how big they are. I will never stop fighting devolution.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Seriously? You'd hit someone so as not to slam on your brakes?

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

It reads as though the driver was to blame. If he had seen the pedestrian he wouldn't have faced a choice that envolved &quot;slam on the brakes&quot;