INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD is cracking down on violations in school zones and bus routes in hopes of saving lives. This comes after multiple students were hit and killed before or after getting on the bus.
A memorial still stands to honor 7-year-old Sevion Sanford. He was hit and killed when he was struck by two vehicles while waiting for the school bus along East 21st Street in March. IMPD said the five-lane stretch of 21st Street is one of several problem areas around the city. 13News rode along for two mornings to see what officers see firsthand.
"Stop arm, I would say in a four-hour period, five to ten violators easily. It's not uncommon where I see multiple cars pass and I can only stop one," said IMPD Officer Patrick Scott.
It's a typical morning for the East District officer, who usually patrols in Warren Township on Indy's far east side.
"Going 44," he said of one driver as he tracked their speed.
One after another: "47."
Scott stopped drivers in Lakeside Elementary's school zone on 21st Street between Post and Mitthoeffer roads.
"46 miles an hour," he said of another car.
He spotted back-to-back vehicles speeding.
"He's going 50. He's getting stopped. It's your lucky day white Buick," he said during our ride-along.
Scott focuses on school zone safety.
"People just get so comfortable driving and so focused on other things in their life that they just forget to pay attention," he said.
Many bus drivers were skeptical about more patrols, but that's not the case anymore, Scott said.
"I think it took about a week, and we had bus drivers flagging us down and were like, 'Hey, can you be at this intersection at this time? Everyone runs my stop arm.' Or, 'We need you over here at this time,' and so that's why I started making a Word document of the different intersections that bus drivers complain about," Scott said.
This includes Post Road.
"I actually had someone last fall doing 70 in that school zone. It was like a jet engine. I just heard this car coming and was like, 'That doesn't sound right,'" Scott said.
Scott wasn't patrolling this area on that tragic day back in March, when Sanford was hit.
"Would they have seen me and slowed down or would it not have made a difference at all? You never know," he said.
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Last September, he was one of the first to respond to North Ritter Avenue and East Washington Street, where 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield was hit and killed outside her school.
It's because of tragedies like these that IMPD is putting a renewed focus on school zones, joining around 200 departments across the state.
Scott realizes he can't be everywhere. However, when he is on the job, he's hopeful what he's doing is keeping more kids safe.
"You like to think when you are out there, you're helping," he said.
On the days 13News rode along, there were no stop arm violations during our rides.
As a reminder, if streets do not have a divider or median, like Post Road, all lanes are required to stop. If there's a median dividing the lanes, vehicles approaching from the other direction are not required to stop when the bus is stopped.