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Kids Beg Parents For Help Over Text - Then Police Find What's In Bus Driver's Purse

Parents were horrified when they learned that their children were in need of help while on the school bus. Kids in a Georgia school district were being driven by an allegedly intoxicated person. The bus driver was caught on film crossing the center line into oncoming traffic. When police searched her, they found she came to work that day with alcohol and prescription pills in her purse.

Carole Ann Etheridge picked up children for Loganville Middle School on Monday morning and gave the kids the ride of their lives. As Etheridge wove back and forth in traffic, children screamed and called parents for help. They reportedly feared for their lives. Dash cam video caught the whole ride.

Etheridge stopped for no reason in the middle of the road at one point, and then missed the entrance to the middle school where she was supposed to drop off the children. The driver told the students that she wasn't feeling well.

“Oh my God, did you see the bus the way it’s swerving?” said parent, Katrina Drlik, witnessing Ethridge's erratic driving. “Oh my God, that car had to literally go on the grass.”

“It’s hard not to go into tears right now. It’s hard to imagine what these kids went through,” she added.

Parents getting frightened calls from their children on the bus called the school and notified them of the problem. Police were dispatched and pulled Ethridge off the bus at the middle school. She was sent to see a resource officer, where she was given a breathalyzer test.

Ethridge told police she was nervous about taking the test. Her initial blood alcohol level registered at .089, more than twice the legal limit. Police found Etheridge had a large bottle of tequila in her purse, small bottles of vodka and some prescription pills.

“We went out for my birthday,” Ethridge tried to explain. “We just had a couple beers and a couple shots of tequila. Probably the tequila is what gets it—cause it’s strong.”

Ethridge insisted that the intoxication must have lingered from the previous night. Her supervisor said to her, “You understand this is not good, right?”

“What’s it going to mean?” Ethridge asked.

“I’m not the boss, so I can’t tell you what it means. But it’s not good,” the supervisor repeats.

“So, you think they’re gonna fire me? I just didn’t think. I woke up… like I was fine. I didn’t think,” the driver said nervously.

“There needs to be consequences for her actions,” said a woman whose younger brother was a passenger on the bus. “He told me we were all scared, she was swerving all over the place, kept hitting the brakes for no reason and the video just proves it.”

The Walton County School District fired Ethridge on the spot and put out a statement. “We appreciate the swift action of our transportation department and local law enforcement officers to ensure the safety of our students,” it read.

Etheridge was also arrested, but was bailed out a couple of hours later on a $25,762 bond.

In addition to facing legal charges, parents are considering taking legal action.

Source: AJC, NBC 26
Photo: Twitter, Walton County Sheriff's Office, Pixabay

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