School Bus Driver Arrested on DUI Charges After Endangering 40 Children on Board

The Seattle PI reports that an Alabama school bus driver made national headlines after she was spotted driving erratically with 40 school children on board the bus.

Authorities in Franklin County, Alabama, say that 58-year-old Rhonda Barksdale, employed by the Tharptown School District, was confronted by a concerned parent driving her kids to school.

On Friday, September 16, the unidentified parent observed the bus drifting from shoulder to shoulder on the roadway. Concerned for the safety of those on board, she pulled her vehicle in front of the bus. The mother then boarded the bus, thinking Barksdale was experiencing a medical emergency. Upon investigation, however, the mother soon suspected that Barksdale was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

She then contacted the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department to report the incident.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said in a statement that deputies arrived at the scene. Deputies noted that Barksdale had several symptoms consistent with intoxication and administered field sobriety tests to her. Oliver told reporters that the school bus driver failed the tests.

Barksdale was arrested on suspicion of DUI and 40 counts of reckless child endangerment.  

None of the students from Tharptown Elementary and High School were injured.

Franklin County School District Superintendent Greg Hamilton issued a statement shortly after the incident.

“I am very thankful that no student or person was injured today. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation and privacy rights, I will not be able to make further comments.”

At the time of the report, school district officials were awaiting the results of Barksdale’s blood alcohol tests before taking any further action.

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