School bus driver accused of being intoxicated at work

December 18, 2017 06:27 PM

ALBANY - A bus driver is losing her job after the school says she showed up to work intoxicated and started her bus route with kids on the bus.

It happened on Bus 172 leaving from Montessori Magnet School in Albany on Friday afternoon.

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Karla Duffy's first grader takes that bus, and she's in disbelief.

"It blows my mind that this was allowed to happen, blows my mind," said Duffy.

Bus company First Student said Monday it was in the process of terminating the driver.

The school emailed a letter to parents Friday, giving a timeline.

In the letter, Principal John Powell writes the bus driver arrived half an hour late.  

The school says as kids were getting on, a teacher smelled alcohol during a conversation with the driver. The teacher told the principal, and the principal told the driver to stay where she was while he went inside to make calls to the transportation superintendent and First Student.

The driver, for whatever reason, took off anyway.

Albany City Schools Superintendent Kaweeda Adams says the bus driver made it to Central Avenue before she was called by a First Student supervisor. According to Adams, the supervisor told the driver to return to the school.

When she arrived back at the school, everyone was taken off the bus and a replacement driver was called.

"In the future, we should probably remove the students from the bus immediately and then look to handle the adult in a different way," said Adams.

The superintendent says the school is thinking about new policies in case they get another drunk driver from First Student. She says an option may be equipping the buses with ignition interlock devices.

The school says First Student tested the driver's BAC and she registered above a 0.04, which is the limit for commercial drivers. They were unable to tell us her exact BAC.

Duffy still has a lot of unanswered questions.

"She was able to drive away, Albany police were never contacted, and then when they realized she drove away, they told her to come back," said Duffy.

The school says the police were not initially called. A press person from First Student was unable to tell us if the company will call the police. Albany PD says they have no record of a call about this.



WNYT Staff

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