Ohio woman carries ‘idiot’ sign for reckless driving

CLEVELAND — A woman ordered to stand at the curb with an embarrassing sign as punishment for driving on the sidewalk past a stopped school bus skipped the cigarettes and cellphone as she served out the second half of her sentence Wednesday.

Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr, unhappy that Shena Hardin was smoking and texting Tuesday, said she planned to personally supervise the defendant Wednesday, but the judge later changed her mind.

Carr told WKYC-TV that she didn’t want to cause a scene and was confident that Hardin won’t drive on a sidewalk again. The Associated Press left a message at the judge’s office seeking comment.

The judge had ordered Hardin to spend an hour Tuesday and another Wednesday with a sign reading, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

Hardin wore headphones and ignored passers-by Tuesday. The judge told WKYC earlier that she felt Hardin wasn’t sufficiently holding up the sign and was “missing the point.”

Hardin avoided smoking and texting Wednesday and wouldn’t comment when asked if the judge had warned her to behave.

TV camera crews formed a tight circle around her, but she looked away except to quietly talk with a Cleveland radio personality who asked her about an apology. She deflected the suggestion and said she didn’t owe the media anything.

Neal Hodges, 48, of Cleveland, stopped by to see Hardin after his brother in Chicago asked him to snap a photo. He said the judge should have been tougher.

“If I was the judge, I would have had a board back and front and had her walk around the area she drove past because I think she took a nonchalant stance, smoking and listening to her music and playing with her phone,” Hodges said.

“I don’t think she knows the seriousness of her actions.”

Hodges said the sentence wasn’t too harsh or humiliating.

“Had it been me, I would have given her five days,” he said.

Lee Cochrane, who drove by the scene, said the sentence should have been positive — perhaps requiring her to do a public service announcement on school bus safety.

“We don’t know her personally. She could be a nice person but what she did was wrong,” said Cochrane, of Youngstown. “It could have been my child on the bus.”

Hardin’s license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.

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