Sidewalk driver holds 'idiot' sign on Cleveland street corner

A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus that was unloading children in Cleveland is taking her court-ordered punishment starting today: Standing at an intersection and holding a sign warning people about idiots.

Part of judge's punishment for woman who drove car on sidewalk to bypass school bus

Shena Hardin holds a sign on Tuesday as part of her sentence for driving on a sidewalk to avoid a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children. (Tony Dejak/Associated Press)

A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to avoid a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children is beginning her court-ordered punishment starting today: Standing at an intersection and holding a sign warning people about idiots.

"Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus," reads the sign held by Shena Hardin, 32.

The Cleveland Municipal Court judge last week ordered Hardin to serve the highly public sentence for one hour Tuesday and Wednesday. Hardin's licence was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 US in court costs.

She arrived on her first day, bundled up against the 1 C cold, puffing a cigarette, wearing headphones and avoiding comment as passing vehicles honked.

Other cases of court-ordered shaming:

  • A 13-year-old girl's mother chopped off her daughter's ponytail to reduce her community service sentence. The Utah girl and another girl had cut off a three-year-old girl's hair.

  • After stealing more than $265,000 US from a crime victims fund, a Houston couple had to stand in front of the local mall for five hours every weekend for six years with a sign reading, "I am a thief."

  • Curtis Robin Sr. made a deal with Texas prosecutors in 2003 to spend 30 consecutive nights in a doghouse after pleading guilty to whipping his stepson with a car antenna. He served the sentence nightly in a doghouse outside his home.

The Associated Press

Lisa Kelley, whose nine-year-old daughter boards the bus which Hardin had been passing on the sidewalk, said the sentence fit the crime.

"She did this almost every day last year," Kelley said. "She won't stop laughing. She's not remorseful, she laughed at every court appearance. She's still laughing, so she needs to be humiliated like this."

Kelley said she was only sorry the woman was standing in the cold and not rain or snow.

Bill Lipold, 37, who works nearby in the blue-collar neighbourhood of older homes and factories, hopes the punishment works.

"How else are you going to stop her from doing it again? She really didn't show remorse for her action after being caught, so you've got to try something," he said.

With two schools located with two blocks of the location and busy commuter traffic, the area can be risky for youngsters walking to class, Lipold said.

Satellite TV trucks are on hand to stream the event live near downtown Cleveland.