An ordinance that would increase the penalty for driving around a school bus unloading students continues through Cleveland City Council committees.
CLEVELAND - It was the sentence that captured the attention of the nation last week.
Shena Hardin, 32, of Cleveland, forced to stand on the corner carrying a sign reading "Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a bus." It was part of her punishment for doing just that.
When Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinky Carr handed out the unusual punishment, it was in part because she had few other options. Under Cleveland law, the offense was a minor misdemeanor, which limited the punishment the judge could deliver.
Carr was among those looking on Monday night as Cleveland City Council took the first step towards changing that with an ordinance that would bump the offense up to a first-degree misdemeanor. That would mean judges in the future would have the option of penalties, including up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
The measure will now be sent to a council committee.
"I was very surprised to find that it was only a minor misdemeanor, that no jail time could be imposed and that the most I could do was fine the individual and suspend the license," Carr said. "So I'm in support of it because I think there needs to be more meat to that violation of the law."
The ordinance was introduced by Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell who said the judges "need more tools." He said the legislation will give judges options for dealing with offenses like Hardin's in a harsher way, should they see fit.
Hardin was cited in September after she drove her SUV up on the sidewalk of East 38th Street to get around a school bus that had stopped to pick up a disabled child. The incident was captured on videotape on two different days.
"A lot of things factored into it," said Carr, of the unusual sentence. "The fact that she wasn't remorseful, the nature of the crime. A lot of things played into my sentence and, I mean, hopefully, she learned something from this experience and we won't see her driving on the sidewalk again."
Despite national media coverage of a Cleveland woman who drove around a school bus on a sidewalk, a Broadview Heights woman was recently cited for doing the exact same thing.
One week after a Cleveland woman was ordered to stand on a street corner with a sign as part of her punishment for driving on the sidewalk around a school bus, city council moves to up the penalty for future offenders.
The woman who drove on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus was joined by a supporter as she held an "idiot" sign for the second day of her sentence Wednesday morning.
A 32-year-old woman who drove on the sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus remained mum as she stood on the sidewalk holding an "idiot" sign as punishment.
A caught on camera passing a school bus on the sidewalk is ordered by a judge to stand at the intersection and wear an "idiot" sign.
A woman who police say drove on the sidewalk to avoid a stopped school bus pleaded not guilty to reckless operation and stopping for a school bus.
The mother of the woman who drove up a sidewalk to get around a stopped Cleveland school bus says her daughter was looking to give the bus plenty of room.
A Cleveland Metropolitan School District bus driver shot video of a motorist driving up on the sidewalk to avoid stopping for the school bus loading and unloading students.