Student suspended after incident in parking lot

May 12, 2006, midnight | By Armin Rosen | 18 years, 2 months ago

License, permit and ID revoked from senior

Senior Louis Weil was suspended Wednesday for driving recklessly in the bus parking lot while buses were leaving school, according to Blair security. Weil was given a 10-day suspension after Security Assistant Everett Campbell saw him executing what he described as "crazy maneuvers" while the last buses were leaving the school's parking lot at around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

"At the time the buses were about to exit," Campbell said, "he drove to the end of the bus lot, turned around and started to execute 'doughnuts' in the bus lot as school buses were leaving…in my opinion it created a completely dangerous situation." Campbell added that state laws require cars to stop while buses are moving, and that any such maneuvers could potentially put the nearly 400 middle and high-school students who ride the 3 p.m. buses at risk.

Officer Ralph Penn, who did not personally witness the incident but has seen video of it taken by Blair security cameras, agreed that Weil was driving dangerously. Penn said that he would have charged Weil with reckless driving if he had been on hand. "He should not have been in the bus lot," Penn said, adding that Weil's driving could have resulted in the suspension of his license.

Although Weil did not deny driving "doughnuts" — 360 degree-turns typically executed in the middle of a clear area — in the bus lot, his understanding of the events differs from that of Campbell and Penn's. Weil said that at the end of the school day, he returned to his car to find his battery dead. Although he was able to jump-start it, he did not know to turn on his engine in order to preserve the charge. After a second jump-start, he was determined not to be stuck in the Blair parking lot, and began driving laps around the lot's median strip. With buses already beginning to pull out of the parking lot, Weil decided to go to the relatively empty bus lot in order to avoid hitting students in the crowded student lot.

Weil said that there were no buses or children in the lot when he began doing "doughnuts," and said that he made sure that his speed did not exceed 15 miles per hour. "I acknowledged that I was too close to the buses," Weil said. "But after the buses left I didn't feel I was doing anything that dangerous. I didn't see a single kid. No one was walking between the buses or anything. There were really no kids around."

Campbell soon motioned for Weil to pull over, and confiscated his drivers' license, parking permit, Blair identification card and his two passengers' identification cards. According to Weil, Campbell then gave him the choice of either reporting to room 340 or being written a $500 ticket by Penn, without telling him exactly what it was that he had done wrong.

Campbell says that he did tell them. "Even if I had not told them," Campbell said, "they knew. It was a completely bizarre situation."

While Campbell said he had reason to suspect that either drugs or alcohol were in some way responsible for the incident, Weil stated that he and his passengers were completely sober. Campbell also did not seem to suspect that drugs or alcohol were involved at the time at the incident, according to Weil. "He didn't ask me 'what's that smell?' or 'where's the pot?'" he said.

Although Weil has acknowledged at least some wrongdoing he believes that his punishment is excessive, and thinks that he could be being used as an example by Blair administration. "I think they're pinning me a lot," he said. "Ten days is ridiculous."

Armin Rosen. Armin is a Seeeeenyor in the Communication Arts Program. "I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist's code of Olympian objectivity (and total purity of motive), I am absolved of responsibility. We journalists don't have to step on roaches. All we have to do … More »

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