FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Billy Roger Bailey, the driver accused of passing a stopped school bus and hitting and killing East Forsyth Middle School student Hasani Wesley, told law-enforcement officers at the scene that he never saw Wesley in the road.
In the third day of testimony, the prosecution played a video recording of an interview that state troopers recorded at the scene on the day of the accident.
In the video, Bailey stated that knew he had hit something but did not know what it was. Bailey said he never saw Wesley.
Trooper Brian K. Palmiter of the N.C. Highway Patrol testified that Bailey was going about 46 mph in his Jeep Cherokee when the vehicle hit Wesley, who was 11 at the time.
Based on witness statements, Palmiter said that Hasani was hit by the car and thrown about 125 feet, landing behind the school bus that he was trying to catch about 6:50 a.m. Dec. 19, 2012.
Palmiter said he was concerned that Bailey did not see Wesley or realize what Bailey had hit. Based on witness statements, accident reconstruction and physical evidence — including the impact site on the vehicle — Palmiter said Wesley was struck by the front left of the vehicle, directly in front of Bailey.
At issue in the trial is whether the bus was stopped, with its stoparm down and red lights flashing, when Bailey passed it and hit Hasani. In opening statements, Bailey’s attorney George Cleland argued that Bailey saw flashing amber lights — the bus’ warning lights — come on, but he was driving 45 mph and had already “committed to pass” the bus.
Palmiter, an accident-reconstruction specialist, testified today that it was his opinion, based on physical evidence and witness testimony, that the bus was stopped when Bailey hit Wesley.
George Cleland IV, also an attorney Bailey, questioned that assertion and said the defense has a witness that will testify the red stop lights were not flashing when Bailey passed the bus.
Bailey is expected to testify and could take the stand as early as this afternoon.