Man arrested after nearly hitting children at Iredell County school bus stop

Joseph Graham Padgett Jr. was arrested early Saturday morning.
Bus video captured a Kia Soul nearly hitting two students crossing the road.
Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 9:15 AM EST
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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina State Highway Patrol arrested the man accused of a bus stop violation in Iredell County.

Troopers arrested 35-year-old Joseph Graham Padgett Jr., of Statesville, around 2:10 a.m. Saturday.

School bus camera footage shows him speed past a stopped bus and almost hit two students on Old Mountain Road on Thursday morning.

A 2011 Kia Soul fitting the description seen on the bus video was located at his residence and secured by the NCSHP on Friday.

The mother of the students in the video told WBTV they are shaken by the incident, but she’s thankful they’re safe and alive.

“The only thing I can tell you was, she had guardian angels watching over her yesterday morning because if it wasn’t for that, it could have got ugly in a split second,” she said.

Padgett is being held at the Iredell County Detention Center under a $20,000 bond.

He will be charged with passing a stopped school bus, driving while his license was revoked, careless and reckless driving, and improper passing.

According to Highway Patrol, five similar incidents happened in Iredell County last year, and it happens nearly 3,000 times daily across the state.

WBTV researched North Carolina laws and found that passing a school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If caught, it gives you five points on your driver’s license and a fine up to $500.

The charge jumps to a Class I felony if the driver hits a person, and a Class H felony if someone is killed a driver bypassing a bus with lights on and the arm down.

Related: Car towed after students nearly hit boarding stopped school bus in Iredell County