This morning in Cleveland, a motorist who got in trouble with the law for driving on the sidewalk to bypass a school bus will serve her humiliating sentence: holding up a sign reading “only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus” for an hour. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.
Let’s see: Jail time or public shaming? This “idiot” got off easy.
>> reporter: good morning, savannah. certainly very unusual. i’m going to step aside to show you when this sign reads. unfortunately, we’ve got this truck. now you can see sheena harden who has to hold a sign that says only an idiot would drive on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus, and that’s essentially what she’s being punished for. the judge says she couldn’t give her jail time. she thought this would be a more appropriate sentence. the video is so damning it seems for itself. watch as 32-year-old sheena harden doesn’t even pause as she veers right and drives up on the sidewalk to bypass a school bus stopped to pick up disabled students.
>> she comes through at 7:30 every morning. goes around the school bus every morning.
>> reporter: harden was caught on tape by the school bus driver. fed up with watching her put herself and his kids in danger. harden’s reasoning, she apparently didn’t want to wait.
>> clearly the handicap boy cannot run across the street. there’s a factory across the street.
>> reporter: that was harden ‘s mother in September explaining why her daughter’s maneuver wasn’t all that bad. we spoke with the director of the neighboring day care center soon after the video surfaced. she showed us just how precarious harden ‘s escape route actually could have been.
>> if we had to evacuate the building, we would have to come through this door. this door here to come out of building, and if she’s coming up on the sidewalk, well, then there’s the danger right there.
>> reporter: a cleveland municipal court judge agreed sentencing harden to a $250 fine and actual penance, ordering her to stand on the street corner and hold this sign, both today and tomorrow. it reads only an idiot would drive on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus .
>> chances are, had she shown some remorse, maybe i would not have given her that extra part of the sentence.
>> reporter: neither harden or her lawyer would talk to nbc news about the sign, but in court the disgraced driver offered an explanation for her impatience.
>> they would just stand there and talk after the children were loaded, again, not justifying.
>> reporter: yesterday we spoke about the day care ‘s director about the judge’s orderer to make harden wear an idiot sign. you don’t think it’s too embarrassing to stand there with a sign saying only idiots drive on a sidewalk?
>> idiot is a strong word but you have to have been an idiot to drive on the sidewalk in the first place.
For the politically-correct, maybe; but I can think of a lot harsher words that fit her.
Great on the judge for her sentencing, though.
> reporter: now, she has to stand here from 7:45 to 8:45, both today and tomorrow. also has a fine. other than that though, she will lose her license for 30 days . savannah?