Hero police officer

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2012

BPD Patrolman Mark Lott

Fast-acting patrolman stopped school bus

By John Howell Sr.

Close observation and quick action December 10 by a Batesville police officer may have prevented an accident involving a loaded school bus, police and school officials said.

Batesville Police Department Captain Robert Ales said that officer Mark Lott was directing school traffic at the intersection of Highway 51 and Tiger Drive at 3:10 p.m. when he noticed a bus southbound on Highway 51 approaching at too high a speed to make the left turn onto Tiger Drive to Batesville Junior High and South Panola High School. Then the officer also saw that the driver was slumped over the steering wheel.
About the same time, the bus “started jumping up and down,” slowing its speed.

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Apparently, the stricken bus driver managed to pull the gear selector into its low or reverse range, forcing the vehicle’s transmission to slow its speed, officers said. The driver also got the bus door opened slightly, enough “where Mark could climb on and stop the bus,” South Panola School District Transportation Director Scootie Murphree said.

Murphree said that the bus was carrying about 15 passengers who had boarded at Batesville Elementary and Intermediate schools.

The driver was transported from the scene by ambulance. He is awaiting medical clearance before returning to driving duties.

Ales said that Lott, who works at the high school as a school resource officer, will receive his letter of commendation for his role in getting the bus stopped.

“We’re blessed every day, and that was a big one,” Murphree said.