School bus driver arrested for DUI fired from prior job


Many parents in one metro Atlanta community expressed outrage on Thursday with the Walton County School District after a school bus driver was arrested for driving under the influence. (MORE: Walton County school bus driver arrested for DUI)

“She could have killed all of the kids,” Katrina Drlik said. “Do they not personally care about the children?”

Drlik’s 16-year-old son Ashton took cell phone video while riding on the school bus, which police say was being driven by a drunk driver.

“I shake just thinking about it, and seeing her picture, know she could have killed my child, and Walton County allowed her to drive a school bus,” Drlik said.

Carole Ann Ethridge is charged with DUI while driving 31 children to school, and 16 counts of child endangerment for every one of them under the age of 14.

Belinda Matthews' 11-year-old son, Milen, was also on the bus.

“They need to know that the parents of these children are very upset,” Matthews said.

The legal alcohol limit for bus drivers in Georgia is .04. According to the incident report, Ethridge blew a .043 and a .048

“We put our children in their possession to take them to school and bring them home safely,” Matthew said.

Our investigation found that prior to being hired in Walton County, Ethridge worked as a bus driver for Gwinnett County Schools for nearly seven years and was fired earlier this year for unsatisfactory performance.

“How can you not look into why she was let go and just hire anybody?” Drlik asked..

The Walton County School District released the following statement Thursday afternoon.The Walton County School District has reviewed our vetting process and believes that the issues surrounding this bus driver were not related to our process, which we feel is very sound. This is an isolated incident which we addressed immediately. Prior to employment, background checks are performed on all employees in the district. In addition to background checks, all driving records are reviewed for bus drivers prior to employment. The Transportation Department also conducts regular driving record reviews on all drivers. All driving records reviewed by the district on this driver have been clear. Based on our review, we do not plan to make any changes to the hiring process at this time.Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



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