Police in Texas say they’ve arrested the driver of a car that nearly ran down a 5-year-old exiting a school bus last month.
Julio Coreas, 18, was arrested Tuesday and charged with reckless driving after police say he failed to stop for a school bus, almost hitting a child crossing the street.
Aug. 28 was 5-year-old Melina Kirk-Taylor’s first day riding the school bus, and her mom wasn’t going to let it go undocumented. As Melina’s bus arrived to drop her off after her second day of kindergarten, mother Josephine Kirk-Taylor was waiting at the bus stop, recording on her cellphone, police said at a news conference.
What happened next caught national attention.
“No! Wait, wait, wait!” Josephine Kirk-Taylor yells in the video. “Stop!”
In the video, Melina can be seen freezing in her tracks as a a blue Toyota zooms past her, nearly running her over.
Kirk-Taylor posted video of the incident to Facebook, asking the community to be aware and protect the area’s children, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
It wasn’t long before the video had gone viral and police launched a weeks-long investigation to find and identify the driver. Police say their search culminated on Tuesday with the arrest of Coreas.
During the news conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo admitted his office’s initial response “wasn’t as good as it should have been,” crediting Kirk-Taylor’s persistence as a major factor in the arrest. He also praised Melina for being aware and listening to her mom.
“Thank god that little girl reacted to what I believe was reckless indifference and wanton and willful disregard for a state law that’s designed to protect the most precious cargo of any vehicle on our roadways, and that’s our children,” he said. “She was able to save her own life through her own awareness.”
Coreas is charged with reckless driving, a class-B misdemeanor, Acevedo said. If convicted, he faces up to six months in jail, KPRC reported.
In closing, Avecedo implored drivers to pay attention and follow traffic laws.
“Every fatal and injury crash in our community is preventable,” he said. “It’s human conscious decisions to disregard the rules of the road.”