Albany School District bus driver suspected of driving bus under influence of alcohol

Albany School District bus driver suspected of driving bus under influence of alcohol

ALBANY (WRGB) - The Albany School District is looking into an incident involving a bus driver. The district believes the driver was under the influence of alcohol while students were on the bus.

Albany City School District Spokesman Ron Lesko says Friday afternoon, one of their bus drivers, contracted through the transportation company First Student, showed up late for the afternoon bus run at Montessori Magnet School with alcohol in her system.

Lesko says a staff member suspected the smell of alcohol, supervisors were called to investigate, and the driver was ordered not to operate the bus.

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

Lesko says the driver, who is not being identified at this time, was called immediately and ordered to return to the school, which Lesko says she did within a matter of minutes.

CBS 6 asked why the driver wasn't told to pull over and shut down the bus instead of continuing to drive back to the school under the influence:

"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." Lesko said.

Lesko says the district is now considering new precautions to ensure something like this never happens again.

"What can we do now to take that decision out of the bus driver's hands and make sure that if there is any suspicious of any substance abuse that the driver is off the bus, students are off the bus, and the bus is shut down until a replacement bus comes." Lesko said.

The driver has been put on paid administrative leave, pending termination. No charges have been filed. The district says that is up to the driver's employer - First Student.

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

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