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Helena Police investigating whether state superintendent drove past school bus stop arm

Elsie Artnzen
Posted at 11:09 AM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:33:25-04

HELENA — The Helena Police Department says they are investigating an accusation that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen illegally drove past a school bus while it had its stop arm extended.

According to a call-for-service report from the Helena Police Department, a bus driver contacted them last Thursday, May 19. 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, when a red Chevrolet truck went past. According to the report, the driver said he had the stop arm fully extended, and the vehicle appeared to disregard the sign. The report said officers were told the vehicle was driven by Arntzen.

Lt. Jayson Zander said the department is still completing its investigation.

Arntzen told MTN she does live in that area 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.

Dan Rispens, superintendent of East Helena Public Schools, confirmed the incident involved one of his district’s buses. He said the bus did have a camera, and they were able to forward images to the investigators.

Rispens said he couldn’t comment further on this specific incident, but that his bus drivers have noticed a growing number of people failing to stop when the stop arm is out.

“We take it very seriously,” he said. “It’s a school safety concern.”