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DUI suspect allegedly passed stopped school bus that was loading children

Jeff Bobo • Feb 5, 2020 at 11:30 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County woman who allegedly passed a school bus that was stopped to pick up children last week was arrested for DUI, among other charges.

Around 7 a.m. Thursday, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Richard McGinnis reportedly observed a 1997 Honda Accord “swerving” from the fog line to the broken white line and from lane to lane while traveling east on Highway 11-W approaching Surgoinsville.

McGinnis then allegedly observed the driver of the Honda pass two vehicles that were stopped behind a school bus that had its lights flashing and “Stop” sign displayed.

McGinnis stopped and waited for the bus to complete picking up the children and remove its “Stop” sign. He then proceeded on 11-W and conducted a traffic stop on the Accord on 11-W near the Long Hollow Road intersection.

The driver was identified as Chelsea Lea Greene, 30, 431 Old Stage Road, Church Hill, whom McGinnis described as “excited and confused.”

McGinnis stated in his report that Greene was unable to complete the field sobriety test. She was charged with DUI, failure to obey a traffic control device, and violation of the implied consent law for refusing a blood draw.

Greene was released from jail Sunday on $6,000 bond and arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court. Her next court appearance is set for March 18.

Safely sharing the road with school buses

Last week the Hawkins County school system posted several tips on its Facebook page for safely sharing the road with school buses.

1. If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

2. Never pass a bus from behind — or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road — if it is stopped to load or unload children.

3. If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.

4. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.