Washington state

‘She was drunk,’ 5th-grader tells 911 about his school bus driver, Washington cops say

A 5th-grader who had just gotten off his school bus ride home had some concerns about his driver, KGW reported. So he called 911 with his mom’s help.

“She was drunk,” the child told dispatchers in Longview, Washington, ABC News reported. “Like, passed three red lights and got on the side road ... and there’s still kids on there.”

Dispatchers asked the boy how he knew the driver was drunk on the Sept. 12 trip, according to the network. He replied that she was “wobbling.”

“Her eyes, you could tell she was drunk,” the boy said, KGW reported. “Her breath sort of smelled like alcohol.”

The boy also told dispatchers that some kids on the bus were frightened and crying, but the driver refused to let them off, according to the station.

Officers arrested school bus driver Catherine L. Maccarone, 48, on suspicion of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment, Longview police reported on Facebook.

Police said they smelled an “obvious odor of intoxicants” on her breath, the post reads.

No children were on the bus at the time of Maccarone’s arrest, but she had completed two routes that afternoon, police wrote.

More than 90 students were on her bus that afternoon, KING reported. She also had driven routes that morning. Maccarone has been placed on leave, school officials reported.

Rick Parrish, the Longview School District communications coordinator, said safety is a top priority for the district and said changes already have been made to bus key checkout procedures for drivers, ABC News reported.

“First of all, I want to tell our parents I’m sorry and as a system, this should not have happened,” said Superintendent Dan Zorn, KGW reported. “And, unfortunately, we had an individual make an incredibly irresponsible choice who is responsible for our kids.”

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.