Charges against a Belgian man, who allegedly failed to stop for a school bus and was driving with a suspended license, were dismissed in Edgartown District Court Monday for $100 in court costs.
Tony Willems, 51, was driving a white Ford sedan near Weeks Lane, traveling toward a school bus that had its red stop lights on and stop sign out, according to a report by Edgartown School Resource Officer Stephanie Immelt.
“The Ford showed no signs of slowing or stopping,” the report states. “As it got closer the bus driver honked the horn, and I activated my emergency lights, in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The Ford with Florida registration continued past the bus and never stopped.”
The bus driver was Monique Clermont, who received recent praise for stopping a student from crossing the street as a car failed to stop for the school bus in a separate incident.
Immelt then pulled the vehicle over, and found the car was allegedly registered to Paulo Cesar De Almeida, 45, of Miami.
Willems allegedly told Immelt he saw the red stop sign, but did not stop, and further said he was not from the United States and “did not know,” according to the report.
“Willems stated he lives in Belgium but was here helping at a job site off of Slough Cove Road doing design work. He said was leaving in December,” the report states.
A check on Willems’ information showed his Massachusetts license was allegedly suspended due to an incident in 2010, the report indicates.
Willems was arrested and transported to Dukes County Sheriff’s Department. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Speaking to The Times by phone, Police Chief Bruce McNamee said Immelt is assigned to the Edgartown School, and looks for these types of infractions. “I’m not surprised that Officer Immelt was able to intercede,” McNamee said. “She’s a very diligent officer, and she’s committed herself to the safety of Edgartown students.”
The dismissal offer was made by the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.
“Failure to stop for a school bus has a minimal fine of $250, so the Commonwealth is being very gracious,” Judge Benjamin Barnes said during the court session.