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School bus driver admits drinking before work



Published: Sat, January 30, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By ELISE FRANCO

efranco@vindy.com

A substitute bus driver’s lawyer submitted a written plea of innocent in court, after police said she admitted consuming alcohol and prescription medication before operating her bus.

Geraldine Banks, 65, of North Jackson, was charged Tuesday with “operating a commercial motor vehicle while having a measurable or detectable amount of alcohol or controlled substance,” said Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci.

She was represented in Mahoning County Area Court in Canfield on Wednesday afternoon by Atty. Gerald Ingram, who had no further comment. Her next court date is pending.

Colucci said Banks was pulling her bus out of the bus garage at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday when she clipped an empty bus in the lot. The bus garage is attached to the police department off Lisbon Drive.

“She reported the accident to the supervisor, and he immediately got in touch with us,” Colucci said.

Colucci said Banks eventually admitted drinking earlier in the day and taking prescription medication. He said Banks could also be charged with a misdemeanor OVI pending the results of a urine test.

She also was required to undergo alcohol testing for the school district, he said.

Colucci said Banks is a retired Canfield bus driver who was filling in as a substitute driver.

No children were on either bus at the time of the accident, which comes one week after David Bell, 60, and Stephanie Ensley, 51, both Canfield bus drivers, were cited for failing to report a Jan. 11 crash involving their buses on Montgomery Drive. Both drivers were placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Canfield Superintendent Dante Zambrini has said.

Colucci said dealing with two accidents in such short time span is disappointing.

“Obviously we’re extremely happy that no children were on the bus or injured,” he said. “The school is just going to have to do everything they can and consider proactive steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Zambrini was not immediately available for comment Wednesday, but Colucci said the department has been corresponding with the school on the matter.

“They’re noticeably disappointed but prepared to deal with the situation,” he said.


Comments

1Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Should be fired and attend Alcoholic counseling. Thank God no children were on the bus. She could've easily said no when they called her into work.

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2wastepro(46 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

On Paid administrative leave. Where the heck is the School Board. Fire them!!!!!

In the private sector that is grounds for immediate termination!!!!!!

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

She is in the wrong profession . Going to bartender school should be her next career move .

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4Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

First time I seen a picture on the Vindy.

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5mrblue(1000 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

She is on medication and she was drinking alcohol. That is a lethal combination. What was she thinking? Actually, she wasn't thinking. Thank God there were no children on the bus. Termination is warranted in this case.

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6jakavh(1 comment)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I guess you people believe everything the media prints. That is a scary thought!!! I wonder how many 65 year old people there are that don't take a single prescription drug. Do you know this woman blew a 0.0 two times,right after the accident? Also about an hour after the accident the police let her get in her own vehicle and drive herself home!!!! If she was wasted, and a danger behind the wheel why did they let her back out on the road? It all seems quite fishy to me. Could it be another case of police egos at their best?

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7KGBRN(1 comment)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Wow! I am amazed at the people in this world who believe everything they read, and how people can just start random rumors. She hadn't been drinking. Blew a 0.00 twice and never admitted to drinking. How many people are on medication in this world? Why do you all assume she is on medication that could impede her driving? Could it be possible she is on high blood pressure meds, diabetic meds, thyroid meds, cardiac meds...the list could go on and on and are perfectly acceptable. Furthermore, why would she be allowed to drive home if honestly found to be impaired? I am disappointed in those of you who assume otherwise from rumor not fact. Are any of us here on earth to judge?

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8joydav(41 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with KGBRN. Some always find it easy to believe what is printed in the media. If the police let her drive home, she was not impaired. This is common sense, but for thoes who judge others and will not put thier own business out to be judged is typical of idiots.

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