In a swift, unanimous decision Thursday morning, the Longview School Board accepted the resignation of the bus driver suspected of driving students home while under the influence earlier this month.
“Generally we would wait until a regular board meeting, but we thought it was important to get this done now,” Superintendent Dan Zorn told The Daily News after the meeting.
Catherine Maccarone submitted her resignation Wednesday after district officials shared the results of its investigation into a Sept. 12 incident resulting in her arrest, Zorn said. The district did not immediately release the details of its investigation.
The resignation takes effect immediately, Zorn said.
Longview police arrested Maccarone, 48, on suspicion of DUI and two counts of reckless endangerment earlier this month after a 10-year-old student called 911 to report that the bus driver had run three red traffic lights and smelled of alcohol. She is scheduled for trial Nov. 22 in Longview Municipal Court.
When police pulled her over, Maccarone’s body movements were odd and exaggerated, and her eyes were watery and bloodshot, according to an officer’s report. Maccarone reportedly told the officer she was upset about her divorce and was taking anxiety and sleep medications.
After she was arrested, Maccarone said something like, “There is no way that cheap beer is still in my system. That drink my uncle made must have had some kick in it,” according to the Longview police report.
A preliminary breath test showed Maccarone had a 0.096% BAC, more than double the 0.04% standard of impairment for driving a school bus or other commercial motor vehicle. However, a commercial driver can be placed out of service if they are found to have any detectable amount of alcohol or THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their system.
You have free articles remaining.
“This incident is not a reflection of the professionalism and quality of work in our transportation department,” Zorn said.
The district now requires bus drivers to have a face-to-face check-in with the transportation dispatcher before picking up their keys for a route, Zorn said.
Also, representatives with the State Office of the Public Superintendent and the Educational Service District 112 have reviewed the district’s transportation policies.
“They did not recommend any further adjustments,” Zorn said.
Maccarone started as a full-time bus driver with the Longview district about one year ago. She previously worked as a bus driver for a school district in Oregon, Zorn said.
District representatives said there were no prior concerns about Maccarone’s bus driving before this incident. Bus drivers go through extensive background checks, including a review of their driving record going back five years.
Zorn said the district plans to hire another bus driver to replace Maccarone.
“We are glad this is taken care of, that the driver in this situation is no longer employed with the district and that we can start to move forward,” Zorn said.