A state senator is calling for stricter school bus laws to make roadways safer for children. Senator Merlin Bartz is from Grafton in Worth County where a seven-year-old girl was killed this week while crossing a road to get on a Northwood-Kensett school bus.
Police say Kadyn Halverson was hit by a pickup truck. Charges are pending against the driver of the pickup for leaving the scene and failing to obey the flashing red lights and extended stop sign on the bus.
Bartz wants to revive proposed legislation from several years ago which he says would eliminate inconsistency in Iowa law. “If you are behind a bus with the red lights, Iowa law requires you to stop and not overtake or pass. But if you are approaching a bus, the flashing amber lights tell you to ‘slow down’ and you’re not required to stop until the red light is flashing and the stop sign is out,” Bartz explained.
Bartz is planning to re-file a bill drafted several years ago to require all vehicles to stop at an amber light on a school bus. “I’m going to ask a drafter to pull that bill at least for a conversation about whether we should consider changing those laws or maybe consider changing that the lights on the bus go to red immediately,” Bartz said.
Police say the driver of the pickup truck in this week’s incident initially fled the scene, but was captured a few miles away. He’s identified as 31-year-old Aaron Gunderson of Northwood. On Friday, Bartz talked about the incident on the floor of the Iowa Senate. He urged legislators and others to visit a Facebook page, created in Kadyn Halverson’s memory, and to pray for her family.