A 48-year-old school bus driver is facing charges of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence after a young student in Longview, Washington, called 911 to report that she was intoxicated.
“She was drunk,” the 5th grader told a 911 dispatcher. “She passed three red lights … and there’s still kids on there.”
The driver, Catherine Maccarone, was arrested after the call on Sept. 12.
Longview police officers smelled “an obvious odor of intoxicants coming from Maccarone” before arresting her, police said in a statement. “There were no children on the bus at the time of the arrest, however Maccarone had recently completed two afternoon bus routes.”
On Friday, Longview Public Schools said in a statement that Maccarone remains on administrative leave pending completion of an internal investigation.
The district said the “incident that occurred is not indicative of the great work Longview Public School drivers do every day.”
Maccarone’s arrest prompted the district to put in place an improved process for screening drivers prior to their driving their routes each day, the statement said. Additionally, a state Department of Education transportation representative is reviewing the district’s procedures.
The child who called 911 about Maccarone first discussed her behavior with his mother. The boy told the 911 dispatcher that his mother does not speak English well and told him to call the emergency number.
The boy said on the call that Maccarone was not acting as she normally did. Usually she was strict about student behavior but on that day she was giving children more leeway.
“Her eyes, you could tell she was drunk,” he said in the call. “Her breath sort of smelled like alcohol.”