HOUSTON – A Houston driver has been charged and arrested after he was seen speeding past a stopped school bus in West Houston.
Julio Coreas, 18, was charged with reckless driving and taken into custody Tuesday after the viral video led to an investigation.
Josephine Kirk-Taylor, the mother of 5-year-old Melina, was waiting for her daughter after school on Westerland Drive near Westheimer Road.
It was her daughter’s first time riding a school bus and Kirk-Taylor wanted to capture the moment.
Her camera was rolling as Kirk-Taylor’s daughter stepped off the bus and began walking toward her. In that moment a blue Toyota Corolla blew past the bus, narrowly missing Kirk-Taylor’s daughter.
In a news conference Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the authorities’ initial response was not great, but thanks to the mother’s persistence, they were able to charge and arrest Coreas.
“(The) driver made the conscious decision to disregard the flashing lights and the stop sign that (reads) “stop” when this little girl was being delivered to her mom,” Acevedo said. “Thank God that that little girl reacted to what I believe is the reckless indifference and the willful disregard for a state law that’s designed to protect the most precious cargo of any vehicle.”
Acevedo said HPD will continue to target traffic violators because every fatality or traffic injury is preventable, and he is tired of people driving as if this was a movie and not real life.
“This year, more Houstonians are dying … as a result of making poor decisions (and) as a result of acting like this is a movie out here,” Acevedo said. “This is real life. Think about what happened to Paul Walker, who was one of the young stars of ‘The Fast and the Furious’ … He was in his Porsche with his buddy driving in a reckless manner and according to media reports back when it happened, he ends up crashing and burning to death.”
Acevedo said that the strict enforcement of traffic laws is not for money or anything else, it’s to save lives and to not have mothers bury their children.
Police said they are following school buses in order to catch traffic violators and they hope Coreas arrest will teach others to follow the law.
According to authorities, Coreas has been cooperating with the investigation.
If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail.