School Bus Driver Arrested in West Chicago Suspected of Driving Drunk

A 42-year-old South Elgin woman was arrested Friday for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. What made this incident particularly distressing to many parents was that the woman was a school bus driver and was driving her assigned route at the time she was arrested.

It is unclear at this time whether any children were on the bus but authorities have stated that the woman was pulled over after a school employee reported that the employee smelled alcohol on the school bus driver’s breath. The driver was pulled over in West Chicago where police officers performed a field sobriety test, leading to her removal from the bus and arrest by the officers.

At this time, the school bus driver has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and bond has been set at $100,000. If the woman is convicted, she could face up to three years incarcerated in prison as well as being labeled a convicted felon.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is very dangerous and puts the lives of all other drivers at risk. For this reason, Illinois makes it illegal to drive a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol and it presumes that drivers are drunk when their blood alcohol levels are 0.08 or higher. However, merely having a BAC below 0.08 does not mean that a motorist is not under the influence; in fact, any driver who is affected by alcohol can be cited for driving intoxicated, regardless of what his or her BAC is at the time of arrest.

School bus drivers are held to a different, and higher, standard than average drivers on Illinois roads. There is no leniency when it comes to school bus drivers and alcohol. Illinois law forbids any school bus driver to operate a bus while there is any alcohol in his or her system, and a violation of this prohibition is breaking the law. The rules are much stricter when it comes to school bus operators because of the nature of their jobs and those who ride as passengers. A fully loaded school bus can easily carry in excess of 50 students, all of whom place their safety and security in the hands of the driver. With so many people on board, it would be easy for an accident to turn catastrophic in a moment. Decreasing the risks faced by these children decrease the odds of a school bus accident and increase the chances that all children will remain safe while traveling to and from school.

On average, there are over four school bus accidents every day in Illinois, many of which result in injuries to the children on board. As a child is not driving the bus and is otherwise not in control of the bus’s movement, the children hurt in these accidents tend to be innocent victims. After a crash, a parent might face expensive medical bills for treatment of their child as well as the devastation that an accident can cause.



If your child has been the victim of an accident, call the Chicago school bus lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free, no obligation telephone consultation. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call because we understand that you might want answers at any hour. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have a history of representing school bus accident victims and their families and we are ready to represent you. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 now and let us help you understand your legal options.

Prior Blog Entries:

Chicago Hit-And-Run Crash Leaves 1 Dead, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 10, 2013.

Fatal Crash in Long Grove Leaves 1 Dead, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 6, 2013.


School Bus Driver Charged With DUI, Associated Press/CBS Chicago, published September 14, 2013.

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