WATCH: 11-year-old Minn. girl narrowly avoids being struck by truck upon exiting school bus
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. — To highlight the need for motorists to obey the state's stop arm law, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on Monday released a video of an 11-year-old Rosemount girl who was nearly struck by a pickup truck after getting off her school bus.
The incident happened last December as the girl passed in front of the bus to walk home. The bus driver's "quick actions alerted the girl to the passing vehicle, helping the Rosemount sixth-grader avoid injury or possible death," the department of public safety said in a news release.
Police used school bus video to track down the driver of the pickup truck, 21-year-old Zachary Nash Wosika of Rosemount. Because the girl was in the road, the charge of failing to stop for a bus stop arm rose to the gross misdemeanor level.
He told an investigator he saw the stop arm, but was unable to stop in time so he drove around the bus, according to the criminal complaint.
In an August plea agreement, Wosika pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge and was given a year of probation, fined $210 and ordered to do 20 hours of community service.
Motorists failing to stop for school buses continues to be an issue that risks children's lives, the department said. In Minnesota, motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and a stop arm when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
As of Aug. 1, drivers who violate that law will face a larger fine as citations increased from $300 to $500 this year for stop-arm violations.
Over the past six years, law enforcement across the state wrote nearly 9,000 stop-arm violation citations. Last year, 1,318 citations were handed out, down from 1,400 in 2015.
Meanwhile, during the annual stop-arm survey earlier this year, 3,659 bus drivers across the state reported 703 stop-arm violations in just one day.
The department of public safety reminds students of the following:
• When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder.
• Wait for the bus driver to signal that it's safe to cross.
• Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.