School bus safety law passes House with changes - - Jackson, MS

School bus safety law passes House with changes

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By David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The family of a Jones County five year old killed last year, are urging state lawmakers to make tougher laws for school zones.

Nathan Key was struck and killed by a passing motorist in December of last year.

The Key family is hoping to create stiffer penalties for people who drive around stopped school buses. They believe if the laws were tougher, and enforced more, their son would be alive today.

Tuesday Nathan's parents, Andy and Lori Key, led a rally at the state capitol, urging lawmakers to pass a new law, with their son's name.

The supporters of Nathan's Law want tougher penalties for motorists who drive around stopped school buses. Many were disappointed when members of the House removed provisions from the law that required the use of hands free devices in school zones and another that would force drivers to stop ten yards from a stopped school bus.

Law enforcement from Jones County, school officials and state leaders were on hand to lend the Key family support in their crusade.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant who spoke at the event said, "I don't know if we can make a law too stiff, a penalty too strong, that will stop this. No law is perfect. You hear laws argued here in the capitol, they say we can make laws all day long but they won't stop this." 

Late Tuesday afternoon, Nathan's law was passed in the House.

Changes were made to the bill which included up to a $750 fine for passing a school bus and up to a year in jail for the first offense.

Twenty-three-year-old Dominic Gebben, the driver who killed Nathan, was charged with culpable negligence manslaughter. He's being held on a million dollar bond.

The Jones County Sheriff's Department said he was driving with no insurance, a suspended license and fled from officers after hitting Nathan.

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