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Helena police cite state superintendent Arntzen after bus stop-arm investigation

Elsie Arntzen
Posted at 11:40 AM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 13:40:21-04

HELENA — The Helena Police Department says Elsie Arntzen, Montana’s state superintendent of public instruction, has been cited, after an investigation into whether she illegally passed a school bus while it had its stop arm extended.

In a release Friday morning, HPD leaders said the investigating officer spoke to Arntzen about the incident Thursday evening. They said, after finishing the investigation, the officer concluded there was probable cause to issue Arntzen a citation, and she was referred to Helena Municipal Court.

Last Thursday, May 19, a bus driver from the East Helena School District contacted authorities. According to HPD, he reported that, shortly after 7:30 a.m., he was stopped on South Alice Street in the Mountain View Meadows area, picking up students with the stop arm out and red lights on. He said a red Chevrolet truck came up from behind, then went past.

HPD said the driver provided the truck’s license plate and identified the driver as Arntzen. The school district also provided video from a camera on the bus.

Earlier Friday morning, a spokesperson for Arntzen’s office sent out a statement saying they had been told a citation would be issued. They said they had not been able to view the video, and that they understood it did not clearly show the truck’s license plate.

“That being said Superintendent Arntzen would like to thank the bus driver for his vigilance,” the statement continued. “This is a good reminder for all of us to slow down from life’s daily distractions, and to pay extra careful attention, especially as we enter the busy summer season.”

Arntzen told MTN this week that she does live in that area, does have a red truck and has driven past that bus stop while students have been there, but she did not recollect this specific incident. She said school bus safety is an extremely important issue, and that everyone needs to take it seriously.