Local News

Driver in bus stop accident meets with police

Posted March 17, 2009

— An Apex woman surrendered to Cary police Tuesday, Lt. Randall Rhyne said. Rita Braman, 50, of 2412 Optimist Farm Road, was charged with failure to stop for a school bus in a crash that injured a Carnage Middle School student last week.

Braman was out of jail Tuesday afternoon on a $3,000 bond.

Police say Joey Liptak, 12, was crossing Penny Road at Crickentree Drive on Friday morning when Braman, driving a burgundy Ford Ranger pickup truck, struck him. Liptak was treated at and released from WakeMed.

Braman and a male passenger stopped and waited with the boy until paramedics arrived, police said. She talked to officers at the scene and was later treated for stress and anxiety over the incident.

Police said the school bus's safety arm was out and its lights were flashing when Liptak was hit. Braman was driving in the opposite direction of the school bus.

Neighbors said Liptak and other students were waiting for the school bus outside Oak Grove Elementary School. The bus was late, so they crossed Penny Road to get a ride from a parent. Before they got into a car, though, the bus arrived.

The students were re-crossing Penny Road to return to the bus when the pickup hit Liptak.


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  • tymegodd Mar 18, 2009

    Hello.. I was the "male passenger" that morning, even though I WAS NOT THERE when this happened. I want to reach out to those who stand in support of this poor unfortunate woman. Remember, it could have been ANYONE that morning.. it just happened that she was the unlucky one to be then/there at that moment. There is so much misreporting here that it makes me want to puke.. on the detractors. You people don't know anything but what you saw on the news, and IT WAS WRONG. I wish to address those who are expressing their outrage at this incident. Until you know the whole story, and THE TRUTH, just keep your mouth shut. You don't have a clue. To those who still want to see her hanged for this horrible accident, please make arrangements to meet with me personally so I can straighten you out. If you don't have the guts to defend your position in person, then keep your asinine assumptions to yourself. Find me and convince me you are right. Otherwise, shut up. Sandman

  • ashleyam2004 Mar 18, 2009

    I just want to say to almost all of you that are posting make sure you know the facts before you jump to assume. First she turned herself in because they were investigating the accident until Tuesday not because she couldn't take the guilt (chargernut69).
    Second for all of you who keep saying slow down slow down how about shut up once again know your facts even the news reporters were saying speed was not a factor.
    Then for cghsmom, yes the boy was treated and released he was kept mainly for observation, but will be just fine maybe a little more cautious like we all should be and yes at 12 years old he did know better than to go running across the street without looking both ways.
    Now for those of you who have taken the time to either investigate more on your own or simply look at the other side of what if it was you thank you, you are the people who make this world just a little easier to deal with.

  • hrizzuto2 Mar 18, 2009

    trpdude, I didn't say I wanted a lynching. I am just saying that when a person RUNS a bus they deserve the penalty. And deserve an even harsher penalty if they injure or kill a child because of running the bus' stop sign and BIG flashing lights. If you want to twist my words, at least do it in an semi-intelligent manner. I'm a parent that both buses and self tranports my child and I have seen people not really care that there is a bus loading up children or that there is a school zone in which the kids are starting to go to school. Next, you will be wanting the schools removed and tell us parents that we are being lazy for busing our children. But I will have you know, 95% of my daughters friends, are bussed. And if she wants to take the bus to get that extra 20 mins of time to spend with them (as they aren't in the same class) I'm going to allow her to do just that.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 17, 2009

    I really would like to know whether the bus was stopped. I asked my son whether his school bus comes to a stop before extending the arm and he said that most of the time it does not ... the lights start flashing and the arm comes out well in advance of the bus. So, if one is driving toward my son's bus, everything looks perfectly fine and all of a sudden, boom! There is a stop sign in your face. Nobody can be expected to stop on a dime, which is one reason why I do not think we can call her negligent. She may have done everything anybody could be asked to do.

    What should have happened is the bus should have turned on its flashing lights well in advance, come to a stop (or be almost completely stopped) and extend the stop sign.

    What I want to know is was the bus moving when it extended the stop sign? Did the bus turn on the flashing lights well in advance of the bus stop? How much time was she given to take notice that the bus was stopping?

  • cocker_mom Mar 17, 2009

    seankelly - I guess I just want to know all the facts. What if the kids were crossing 1/4 mile in front of the school bus on a long straight flat road? Where would one have to stop? If the lights were flashing, and a child was hit - would the person be prosecuted?

    No doubt she did something wrong - as even without lights, you should not hit a pedestrian.

    I am just trying to understand the circumstances - and there are degrees of "wrong" - from mowed down without stopping, to hitting a child who may have crossed from behind a vehicle making them difficult to see in the time / conditions. This wasn't a case of the former.

    But I can agree that all drivers need to be extra cautious with school buses and school crossings.

  • rtpdude Mar 17, 2009

    Maybe you are correct and the driver was negligent in the accident... or maybe not.

    What are you basing your opinions on? The WRAL story? Have you read the police report? Has the driver come forward and told her side of the story? Until I hear the driver's side of the story, or see a police report I'm not going to jump to any conclusions.

  • seankelly15 Mar 17, 2009

    rtpdude - I have not advocated 'lynching' this woman and your hysterical comment suggesting that people on this board are doing this is way out of proportion. People offer opinions and others (like you) object to these opinions. I in turn have objected to your opinions because I think that you are not looking at the rather simple facts of the case. But, you are free to offer your opinions; I only ask that you keep them limited to the facts as known.

  • seankelly15 Mar 17, 2009

    rtpdude - Do you know what neglience is? This was not an 'accident', it was the result of negligence. You keep coming up with excuses to justify her negligence. I am being judgemental - not of the person - I have never commented about her as a person. But I am being judgemental based on the facts of this case. Facts that she has admitted to.

    As a general rule I don't run stop lights nor do I roll through stop signs. But, what does my driving have to do with this woman's neglience? I wasn't driving her car and I didn't hit the child.

  • rtpdude Mar 17, 2009

    So without knowing all the facts, do you feel lynching the driver in this forum is justified?

    WRAL's reporting on this incident is sketchy, and I prefer to know all the facts in the case before passing judgment and criticizing the driver on a public forum.

    I hope this is never the case, but if I ever find myself in such a predicament I hope people would give me the benefit of the doubt and not be so quick to jump to conclusions.

  • hrizzuto2 Mar 17, 2009

    trpdude, while I don't confess to being perfect, I can say that I have never made a mistake in which a child or innocent person life was at risk. Even when I was 16, I knew that I needed to stop for the school buses. So to say that we are proclaiming to be perfect, is in itself, ludacris. I'm sure had that of been your child (or if you even have kids) you would be screaming for the death penalty if your child passed due to someone hitting your kid with their car after running the bus. I'm sorry, but all too often people are trying to say that kids should know better. Please! Give me a break. Even when the bus stops and gets the kids and they DON'T cross a street to load up. People pass the bus and I get irate. I've seen so far this last 2 years we have been in WCPSS, my daughters bus hit twice from people not realizing (idiots) that there is a bus stopping. And each time, those drivers have been arrested at the scene. As they should be!