STATESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The N.C. State Highway Patrol announced a suspect a day after a car nearly hit two elementary school girls Thursday morning.

Authorities say they have a warrant for 35-year-old Statesville resident Joseph Graham Padgett Jr. The man faces several charges, including:

  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Driving while his license was revoked
  • Careless and reckless driving
  • Improper passing 

The Highway Patrol is seeking the public’s help in locating Padgett Jr. 

Mom witnessed wild event

On Friday, Queen City News caught up with the mother of the two children. She did not wish to be identified for this story.

In video released by Iredell Statesville Schools, you can hear a bus driver screaming as two children crossed the street and dodged a speeding car on a rainy Thursday morning.

Look at the video again, and you can see one of the girls almost clipped by a speeding Kia Soul.

“At that moment, I was just, ‘Like, oh my gosh, what the hell,” said the mother of the children as she watched from the front porch. “That was my exact words.”

School bus video caught the car as it almost clipped on of the elementary school students Thursday.

The mother didn’t want to be identified, but she says her second and fourth-grade students had some divine intervention.

“(It’s) By the grace of God that she was okay,” she added about the child closest to getting hit. “And honestly, that is the only thing I can tell you. It was by the grace of God (that nothing terrible happened).”

Authorities located a car seen in a bus video nearly hitting two children at a bus stop on Thursday. (NCSHP)

North Carolina State Highway Patrol first sergeant David Hall said what he saw on the shocking video was a first.

“In my time, I’ve seen stop arm violations, I’ve witnessed them firsthand, through complaints, reviewing videos,” Hall said. “I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’ve never seen any kid come that close to getting run over by a car.”

North Carolina State Highway Patrol first sergeant David Hall says if the driver does not turn him or herself in, authorities will make an arrest.

NCSHP investigators started searching for the vehicle right away. Troopers used the countywide camera system to match the vehicle with the bus camera footage, they located the home and tried to contact the driver, but he was not home.

“This violator didn’t just pass a school bus,” Hall added. “There were two stopped cars behind the school bus. He passed them all. This wasn’t an accident. This was a two-lane road. There was nothing accidental about this, this was intentional.”

Investigators believe the man will turn himself in. If not, they will arrest him.

The children did go to school on Friday, and rode the bus, but their mother says it was tough to get through the day.

“They didn’t want to cross the road to get on the bus,” she said. “That was just something that they are still terrified of. All I can say is the guardian angels were with her that day.”