NewsFlash! Richmond School Board member cited for passing stopped school bus



BY K. BURNELL EVANS
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond School Board member Tichi Pinkney Eppes was cited last week for passing a stopped school bus outside of the Amelia Street School for students with disabilities.

Eppes, 52, said she was leaving a preschool graduation ceremony at neighboring Maymont Elementary School on June 10 when a Richmond police officer stopped her in the 1800 block of Amelia Street.

She noticed the bus' arm outstretched as she approached the vehicle parked outside of the school and waited for several minutes to see if anyone was entering or exiting the vehicle.

"The bus was totally empty," Eppes, 9th District, said in an interview Friday. "The driver was not even on the bus."

After about five minutes, she said, Eppes decided to pass the vehicle.

"He immediately pulled me over," she said, of Officer Christopher A. Kitt, who ticketed Eppes for reckless driving, according to a summons filed this week in Richmond traffic court.

Kitt stopped the white Ford van she was driving around 9:20 a.m. The weather was clear, according to Eppes' ticket.

She plans to contest the citation and has asked Richmond's assistant superintendent for Support Services, Thomas Kranz, to attend her July 7 court hearing.

Kranz was not in his office and did not immediately return an interview request Friday.

"I don't have anything to hide," Eppes said. "As a School Board member I've got enough common sense not to pass a school bus."

The ticket carries a possible civil penalty of up to $250. Reckless driving generally is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

In October, the School Board publicly admonished and censured Eppes -- the strongest action it can take against a member -- and stripped her from the body's student disciplinary committee over a breach of confidential student information.

Eppes was accused of sharing confidential information about 20 students with a mental health service provider. The email from Eppes contained a link to an online database of student records.

Board Chairman Donald Coleman, 7th District, did not immediately return an interview request on Friday.

kevans@timesdispatch.com
(804) 649-6922