Chairman to enter plea in school bus passing


AUBURN – Ira “Ike” Levine plans to admit Thursday that his car illegally passed a school bus stopped at the school where he serves as chairman of the School Committee.

Levine was charged last year with passing a stopped school bus, a misdemeanor and criminal violation. A plea agreement worked out recently with the Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office downgraded the offense to a civil violation that carries a $300 fine, said Justin Leary, Levine’s lawyer.

Levine is due in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday to formally enter his plea with the judge, according to court records.

Police said Levine passed a school bus stopped in the parking lot of Poland Regional High School on June 6 when he was dropping off his kids. Students were getting off the bus at that time, police said.

Had he been convicted of that misdemeanor, he would have faced up to $250 fine, 30-day license suspension and six months in jail. He had asked for a jury trial.

Leary said Tuesday his client denies having driven past the bus, but assumes the bus driver who recorded his car’s registration was accurate.

“Someone in my family might have passed a school bus,” Levine said through Leary. “It’s a compromise,” the lawyer said.

A license check at the Secretary of State’s Office showed Levine had no convictions of passing a stopped school bus.

Levine also is chairman of the Poland School Committee. His committees oversee the high school, the Poland Community School and Bruce M. Whittier School.