New Haven bus driver jailed after crash; children OK

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Macomb Township — A New Haven Community Schools bus driver was charged with operating while intoxicated after crashing her bus with six students aboard into a parked car, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Six middle school students on the 2015 Blue Bird bus were uninjured when the 49-year-old Lenox Township driver collided with an unoccupied 2002 Honda Odyssey, officials said. The crash occurred just after 8:20 a.m. Friday on the 52600 block of Harmony Drive in Macomb Township as the bus was en route to Endeavour Middle School.

Officials are withholding the driver’s name pending formal arraignment on other possible charges, including possession of narcotics and child endangerment. They are waiting on results from her blood test and a review by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

The bus driver “has been suspended from all duties with the district, pending completion of the sheriff’s department and school district’s investigations,” New Haven Community Schools officials said in a statement Monday.

The district did not name the driver but said she has been an employee for many years and “maintains all required certifications pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act to drive a passenger school bus and has met the Department of Transportation’s requirements regarding medical examinations.”

In surveillance video of the incident taken from a nearby home, the school bus plowed into the parked, silver van while traveling at a high rate of speed. Both vehicles continued moving off-screen. The bus driver did not appear to apply the brakes, officials said.

In a second video, taken from an officer’s dashboard camera both vehicles appeared to be heavily damaged, sitting on the lawn of a corner home. “I’d like all the kids checked out, please,” an official said off-camera.

Deputies found the driver slurring her words and unsteady on her feet, officials said. She indicated she consumed prescription medication earlier and “must have blacked out” before the crash. Deputies also found a pill container in the woman’s purse containing prescription medications, including narcotics.

The students were transferred to a new bus and taken to school.

Medical personnel were called after the driver complained of minor hand pain, officials said. She was put through a series of field sobriety tests and then subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated.

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies took the woman to McLaren Macomb Hospital where her blood was drawn to be analyzed.

The driver was taken to the Macomb County Jail. She was released after posting a $20,000 cash bond.

Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed