A school bus driver is more than just your average vehicle operator. Children often consider them as friends, and parents trust them with their children’s safety. Unfortunately, this school bus driver did not meet the requirements of a trustworthy person.
56-year-old Martha Thompson took 37 children passengers on a terrifying drunken ride through Alfred, New York. Caught on a surveillance tape, the children noticed something was wrong with Thompson when she ran over a mailbox and started to roll into a ditch. Three of the older children pleaded with Thompson to stop the bus, but she refused to pull over. The footage then shows two courageous teenagers, Grace Scherzer and Chelsey Pierce, appropriately convincing Thompson to pull over, while comforting the panicked younger children. Thankfully, the two girls used their knowledge of safety procedures to pull the emergency break and evacuate the rest of the children through the back exit of the bus.
According to CBS affiliate WIVB, Thompson’s blood alcohol level was tested at .15 percent, which is twice the legal limit for drivers in New York. Thompson plead guilty to 37 accounts of child endangerment and driving while intoxicated. She was sentenced to twelve weekends in jail, six months of electronic home confinement, five years of probation and alcohol counseling, and a $1,000 fine.
Many were outraged with the outcome of Thompson’s punishment, including Chelsey Pierce’s mother, Lori Loomis. She told CBS News that Thompson deserves far more days in jail and absolutely doesn’t believe her punishment fits the crime. She stated:
I am very upset with what she received. And I just don’t think it’s a harsh enough punishment for this woman. She put all these children’s lives in danger. She could have killed them all. I’m very upset with the outcome.
Thomas Trbovich, the bus driver’s attorney, spoke on behalf of Thompson:
She’s embarrassed. She’s very sorry to the children. She never, ever would intentionally put any of those children… in any type of risk.
No one should have to go through such a traumatizing experience, especially 37 innocent children who just wanted to get home safe. Imagine if YOUR child was on this bus; was justice served?
CBS reports on the drunk school bus driver.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZVzw8WMltg&w=420&h=315]
H/T: CBS News| Featured Image via YouTube screenshot