Bus Driver Accused Of Driving Students With Alcohol In Her System

Wednesday, December 20th 2017, 6:10 am
By: News 9

Officials in upstate New York have suspended a bus driver who was accused of having alcohol in her system while driving students.

WTEN-TV reports a staff member at the Montessori Magnet School in Albany, which enrolls students in pre-K through fifth grade, suspected the driver had been drinking Friday when they smelled alcohol. The driver, contracted through the transportation company First Student, had showed up late for the afternoon bus run, reports CBS affiliate WRGB.

Albany City School District Spokesman Ron Lesko told the station the staff member contacted a supervisor and the driver was ordered not to operate the bus.

Lesko said the driver, however, ignored the instruction and continued driving.

"For whatever reason, and we're not sure what the reason is, she left, she drove away with a bus full of students," Lesko told the station.

Officials say a transportation supervisor then directed the bus driver to stop. Lesko said the driver returned to the school within a matter of minutes. 

He said the district is now considering new precautions to ensure something something similar never happens again.

When asked by the station why the driver wasn't ordered to pull over immediately rather than return to the school, Lesko said, "Busy street, Central Avenue, the students are going to have to be taken off the bus, the thought, I believe, was that she was less than a block from the school so it would be safer for the students to get off the bus if they were back in the school parking lot but again, that's something we're going to have to look at."

Authorities say they later determined the driver's blood alcohol content was 0.04, above the legal limit for operators of commercial vehicles, including school buses. The school district has a zero tolerance alcohol policy.

Officials say the bus company has suspended the driver pending termination. No charges have been filed and the driver hasn't been identified.

Lesko says the district is thankful no one was hurt in the incident.

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