A Washington State woman has been arrested for allegedly driving a school bus filled with children while under the influence. One of the elementary students on the bus route dialed 911 and reported the bus driver to authorities before she was pulled over and arrested.
A 10-year-old student called emergency services after he was dropped off telling the 911 dispatcher, “The bus driver, Catherine, she was drunk." ABC News obtained the audio of the chilling call where the boy states that "She passed three red lights and she got on the side road by the 76. And there’s still kids on there. And I was telling my friend to get off with me — and his sister — but the bus driver wouldn’t let him.”
Newly released video shows a school bus full of terrified children shortly before the driver was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated. https://t.co/f6xfcaEhZr— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2019
Officers were able to locate the bus driven by 48-year-old Catherine L. Maccarone and were able to pull the vehicle over. "Officers smelled an obvious odour of intoxicants coming from Maccarone," the police statement said. Maccarone was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence as well as reckless endangerment. They said more charges are possible as they continue their investigation.
The New York Post posted a surveillance video taken from the bus that shows Maccarone talking to the kids while driving saying “Did I mention bus drivers have to be a little bit crazy? I am crazy! I’m totally crazy!” the yellow-bus driver says to the kids in the footage, which was released by the students’ school district, Longview, in Washington state near the Oregon border. As Maccarone continues to ramble on to the children they can be heard screaming in the background,
Although the bus was empty when Maccarone was pulled over, the school district's communications coordinator, Rick Parrish, told ABC News that she had already completed two bus runs and had possibly as many as 90 children on her bus. While Maccarone was initially placed on paid leave, she has since resigned.
"The safety and security of students and staff is a top priority at Longview Schools,” Superintendent Dan Zorn said in the statement. “Putting our students at risk with irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated.”
Parrish also said in a statement Friday that "At Longview Public Schools safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority. The district will complete an investigation into the incident very soon and notify the public of the outcome. In the meantime, an initial review of transportation processes and procedures has taken place and resulted in changes to the bus key check out process. Additionally, the district has invited a state Department of Education transportation manager to review our transportation processes and provide feedback from improvement."