Newark, NJ- A bus driver from north New Jersey recently made a plea deal with prosecutors two years after she was arrested for driving a loaded school bus while heavily intoxicated. The 49 year-old woman may get a lenient sentence, but what penalties was she facing?
Children from Westhampton Middle School were terrified d of the way Carole Crockett was driving on their way home in November of 2011 that some called their parents. They explained their bus driver was all over the road and driving dangerously. Others were so frightened that they got off at stops nowhere near their home. One child told CBS that the bus driver almost struck a can and jogger and another saw her throw up into the bag.
Crockett also left several children stranded at their schools with no way home.
The children’s parents alerted school authorities who then called police. After a brief hunt, police caught up with Crockett at another school just about to pick up another load of children. But luckily they stopped her before she could put more children in danger.
When police conducted a breathalyzer they found that Crockett’s blood alcohol content it was .025, three times New Jersey’s .08 legal limit.
Crockett had as many as 25 children as passengers so police charged her with 25 counts DWI and child endangerment. She was facing serious jail time, but she managed to negotiate a reduced sentence of 3 years in a state prison, along with other penalties that include thousands in fines, community service an alcohol assessment program and a requirement to install an ignition interlock device.
But the jail term and other penalties are just the beginning of Crockett’s troubles; she will likely never be able to drive a bus again and will have a serious criminal record that she won’t be able to scrub clean.
Driving while intoxicated with children in their vehicle face serious charges. Not only can they be charged for DWI with a minor child, which is a disorderly persons offense, but they can also be charged with child endangerment. The child endangerment charged depending on the extent of the harm is a crime in the second degree. The offender faces up to 10 years in jail and up to $150,000 in fines.
People shouldn’t drink and drive, especially with their children, but people aren’t known to make sound decisions when they intoxicated and the soundness of their decisions often decrease with their level of intoxication. DWI with child endangerment should not be taken lightly and the accused must hire a New Jersey DWI attorney to help them with their defense.
With any arrest there are extenuating circumstances, such as the offender’s criminal history, along with their character and ties to the community that can work in their favor. Crockett’s reduced sentence demonstrates how important it is to retain a New Jersey DWI attorney who will be your advocate and appeal to the court for leniency.