A Longview school bus driver in Washington has been charged with reckless endangerment and driving under the influence after a young student called 911 last week to report that she was drunk.
According to Longview police, officers were tasked with locating a driver suspected of being under the influence around 3:58 p.m. Sept. 12.
A fifth-grader had called 911 to report that a woman was driving a Longview School Bus District bus and “appeared to be intoxicated,” police said.
The boy told the 911 dispatcher that he was making the call instead of his mother because she does not speak English well.
The driver, identified as 48-year-old Catherine Maccarone, was later arrested and taken to the Cowlitz County Jail.
The child who called 911 said that Maccarone was not acting as she normally did. She was usually strict about student behavior but on that Thursday she gave children more leeway.
The child added that he and his friend attempted to get a scared friend to come off the bus at their stop but Maccarone wouldn’t allow it and drove off.
“She was drunk. Like, passed three red lights and got on the side road by the 76 and there’s still kids on there,” he said.
The bus driver was “wobbling” and “her eyes, you can tell, she was drunk,” the child told the dispatcher.
Police said when they pulled her over on the 2900 block of Nichols Boulevard, they “smelled an obvious odor of intoxicants coming from Maccarone.”
No children were on the bus at the time of the arrest, police said, but Maccarone had completed two afternoon bus routes that included at least 90 students.
On Friday, Longview Public Schools said that Maccarone had been working as a bus driver for one year and had no history of similar alleged incidents. She remained on paid leave pending completion of an internal investigation.
Maccarone paid bond and was due back in court on Oct. 15, jail officials said.
Police said that the district was working with the police and additional charges were possible as their investigation was underway.
School district spokesman Rick Parrish said in a statement Friday: “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.”