Last week, a 53-year-old school bus driver who had been with the Hamilton Heights School Corporation since 2001 was suspended after she allegedly operated the bus while intoxicated. According to a news article at Fox59, Janet Kay Shaw was under the influence of drugs when the school bus ran off the side of the road with 23 students on board.
The drugs found in Shaw’s handbag included Hydrocodone, Valium, and Soma. Parents of some of the students on the bus were alerted by their children via cell phones that the bus went off the roadway; the parents then contacted school officials. When the bus veered off the road, it was going approximately 40 mph according to investigators. Several power outages were reported, with one student who was waiting for the bus claiming he saw it go off the road when a “big green spark” flew in front of him. Noah Chapman, the 7th grade student who witnessed the crash, decided not to get on the bus. News reports indicate the bus struck a utility pole wire before returning to the road.
Several middle and high school students who were on the bus complained of headaches and minor aches and pains; they were treated by a school nurse. Upon arrival at the school, Shaw was removed from the bus immediately. She was suspended pending the next HHSC Board of School Trustees meeting where recommendation for termination will be presented.
Officials say Shaw had passed all previous random drug tests. She is charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, seven counts of leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury, and eight counts of OWI with a passenger under 18 years of age.
Michigan DUI defense lawyers know that many people are under the assumption that OWI, DUI, OUI, and other similar charges involve the use of alcohol. The fact is, a person can face criminal charges for driving under the influence of prescription drugs or controlled substances, as these drugs can leave an individual impaired in much the same manner that alcohol does. A conviction for OWI, whether drugs, alcohol, or both are involved, may result in serious punishment including jail/prison time, fines, probation, community service, loss of employment is some cases such as the one above, driver’s license suspension, and more.
If you or someone you know has been charged with operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, or surrounding areas, consult with a qualified Michigan DUI attorney immediately. The outcome of your case could hinge on how quickly you obtain capable legal counsel.