This story has been updated to include the legal standard for driving under the influence for bus drivers.
A Longview School District bus driver reportedly ran three red traffic lights before police stopped her Thursday, according to a student on her bus who called 911 dispatch, according to court records recently filed in the case.
Police arrested Catherine Maccarone, 48, of Sweet Home, Ore. on suspicion of DUI and two counts of reckless endangerment, all misdemeanors.
A Longview police officer responded to reports from an 10-year-old student who told 911 dispatchers that his bus driver smelled like alcohol and had run three red lights, according to the police citation in her case. The caller also said the driver was “not acting like herself” and had been using profanity toward children on the bus.
Cowlitz 911 dispatch coordinated with the Longview School District to stop the bus in front of R.A. Long High School on Nichols Boulevard. She was the only person on board when an officer met with her.
The officer could smell “a faint odor” of alcohol coming from Maccarone, who denied running stoplights, the citation said. Her body movements were odd and exaggerated, the officer wrote, and she had watery, bloodshot eyes and a flushed-red face. She said her left eye looked dilated because she recently had surgery performed on it.
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When asked if she had been cursing toward the children, Maccarone said she decided to be the “fun and goofy” driver since the children on the bus didn’t like the “mean” driver.
Maccarone told the officer she was upset about her divorce and said she was taking anxiety and sleep medication. When the officer asked for the names of the medicines, she replied “Oh, you know,” according to the citation. She did not further clarify.
A preliminary breath test administered by the officer showed Maccarone had a 0.096% BAC, more than double the .04% standard of impairment for driving a school bus or other commercial motor vehicle. It is also over the general .08% standard for legal intoxication (but slightly lower than the more than decade-old standard of 0.10%).
However, a commercial driver can be placed out of service if they are found to have any detectable amount of alcohol or THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis) in their system, Washington State Patrol spokesman Will Finn said Wednesday.
She refused to submit to a second breath test at the Longview Police Department. Officers obtained a warrant to draw her blood, which was logged into evidence.
Maccarone has been placed on administrative leave. She initially was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail, but she has since been released.