A Baldwin County school bus driver who was arrested for DUI with 25 children on board had a bond hearing Monday morning, May 14, 2018. Sheriff’s deputies said it was the quick thinking of a Robertsdale High School student that alerted them to the situation. Authorities said the driver was well over the legal limit and that brings up some serious questions.
The bus driver, 58 year-old Vicki Patrick had been working for Baldwin County Schools since 2007 and school officials said she and all other drivers are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. But, what is the protocol for picking up and dropping off busses and what measures are in place, it any to prevent this from happening again?
Deputies said Patrick’s blood-alcohol content was near 15 times the .02 legal limit for CDL licensed drivers, putting it at about 1.3. At her bond hearing, prosecutors asked for and received a $25,000 bond on a reckless endangerment charge which equates to $1,000 for each child on the bus. Patrick was given a $10,000 bond for the DUI charge.
Superintendent, Eddie Tyler said Patrick won’t work for the school system again. He also talked about the student who alerted authorities.
“I was talking to our transportation supervisor today who has viewed the tape. But he just said the way that young man handled the situation, a lot of adults wouldn’t have handled it in that manner. He did a good job,” Tyler said.
When Patrick pulled the bus over, 16 year-old Cody Butler said he wouldn’t let her drive again.
“I didn’t let her turn on the bus,” Butler explained. “I just kept saying stay where you are and people were coming.”
All drivers submit to random drug and alcohol testing, but can be tested more often if given a reason. As for monitoring bus drivers as they come and go, Tyler said it’s something he may look into.
“I know the public’s probably going to say, we don’t really care what you’ve got to do, just do it and that’s real easy to say, but then we’ve got to figure out can some extra measures be put in place to monitor the goings and comings of our bus drivers,” Tyler said.
If Vicki Patrick posts her 35 thousand dollar bond, the judge put some restrictions on her. She will be under GPS ankle monitor, she must submit to random drug and alcohol testing, she can’t have any contact with the children from the bus or their families and she loses her driving privileges.
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