Newark police chief convicted of illegally passing stopped school bus

Local News

NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) — Newark Police Chief Barry Connell has been found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus in an unmarked police car.

After a trial in Licking County Municipal Court Friday afternoon, Judge Guy Reece sentenced the police chief to pay a $100 fine and court costs. The judge could have imposed a $500 fine and suspended Connell’s license for up to a year.

The incident in question happened Oct 10, 2018, on O’Bannon Ave near Brice St.

Connell was responding to a call of a violent felon fleeing from officers. He testified that his lights and siren were activated on his unmarked car.

Bus driver Patricia Hughes testified that she had turned on her flashing yellow lights as she slowed down to drop off a student. Video from the bus shows that as Hughes then stops the bus, activates the red lights and opens the door, the chief’s car goes by on the left. Hughes said she did not hear a siren and did not see police lights coming from behind.

Judge Reece said there are no exceptions in the law for passing a stopped school bus, not even for emergency vehicles. He said the intent of the law is to protect children.

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