A school bus driver in eastern Pennsylvania allegedly abandoned 26 students inside the bus at a gas station last Friday after reportedly driving erratically. Authorities have since arrested the 44-year-old woman for driving under the influence, in addition to charges of careless and reckless driving, as well as child endangerment.
Fortunately, there were no injuries as a result of the incident, but one eighth-grader who was a passenger at the time reported that she and the other students became frightened by the driver’s allegedly erratic driving, which included driving on the wrong side of the road, missing stops and not following her regular route, according to the student’s claim.
Eventually, the bus driver allegedly pulled the bus into a gas station and departed on foot, leaving the 26 juveniles still on board the bus, after reportedly handing the keys to the bus to an employee of the service station.
Details are unavailable as to who alerted authorities to the situation, nor is it clear how long the students remained unattended on the bus awaiting the arrival of law enforcement and school officials. Authorities later arrested the driver at her home, though it is unknown whether she remains in custody. Despite the drunk driving charge, it is also unclear what, if any, alcohol testing took place.
Though thankful that the alleged incident did not result in any physical harm, school officials are very upset by the incident, which is reportedly unprecedented in the 20 years that the district has contracted with the bus company that employed the driver. The bus company reports that it is cooperating with the investigation, according to a spokesman.
While drunk driving charges always pose a risk of serious consequences, the stakes are higher for commercial drivers, who may lose their jobs as a result. It is unknown whether the bus driver involved in this alleged incident has legal representation, but those facing similar charges may find it helpful to consult an attorney.