On September 12th, 2019, Washington State Police officers received an assignment, which they were to locate a school bus, because the bus driver was suspected of driving under the influence. This assignment was given after a 911 dispatcher received a call saying, that a driver for the Longview School Bus District seemed to be drunk while driving a bus full of students.
As reported by ABCColumbia.com, the call came in from a child who had been riding on the bus just after getting off. In the call, he's reported as saying, “Ummm, yea, hello. … We just got off the bus — me and my friend. And on bus 8 … the bus driver, Catherine, she was drunk.” He went on to tell the 911 agent that Catherine, the bus driver, passed three red lights, and at one point in time drove on the side of the road. He also claimed that the bus driver was wobbling, and that he noticed she was drunk when looking in her eyes. Most alarming, the child making the call, let the 911 agent know that there were still kids on the bus.
The 911 call center was able to reach the school district’s transportation office, and they were eventually able to get the school bus driver, Catherine Maccarone to stop. The police reported in a statement, that after locating her, they "smelled an obvious odor of intoxicants" coming from her. She was arrested at the time, with the belief that she was driving under the influence. Thankfully, there were no children on board the bus at the time of her arrest, but by the time the police reached her, she'd already completed two of her bus routes. She was responsible for the safety of up to 90 children during those two routes.
Catherine was detained after her arrest, for driving under the influence and for reckless endangerment. She was able to pay her bond, and has since been released. She's currently on leave from the school district, with pay and being investigated. School district officials say that what, ultimately, happens to her will depend on what their investigation proves. In a statement on Friday, about the incident, Rick Parrish, the district’s communications coordinator had this to say, “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 will notify the public of the outcome.