Officers were dispatched to Graminia School south of Spruce Grove Monday when staff expressed safety concerns with respect to one of the bus drivers taking students home around 3 p.m.
The Parkland RCMP have arrested a woman for allegedly operating transport for kids while drunk.
Officers were dispatched to Graminia School south of Spruce Grove Monday when staff expressed safety concerns with respect to one of the bus drivers taking students home around 3 p.m. Police determined a 46-year-old woman allegedly was impaired and she was arrested and removed prior to bus departures.
The driver was immediately removed from the route and has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation. A note on the school’s website confirmed a replacement is in place and the Parkland School Division, transportation services and school staff are cooperating with local authorities as they investigate.
“We are taking this matter very seriously,” the note read. “We apologize for Monday’s delay.”
While the incident has raised alarms at the Parkland School Division and with parents online, RCMP Cst. Shelley Nasheim said this is not the first time this has happened in the province, adding that she has heard of similar cases in the Morinville area. But it is a rare occurrence for the Tri-Region since she’s been here.
“This is the first time I have heard of this in six years,” Nasheim said Tuesday.
The driver of the bus at Graminia and the one in the Morinville incident both came from Golden Arrow Motor Coaches out of Edmonton. Brian Hauptman, general manager of school bus operations for the company, said she should be “ashamed of herself” if the allegations were true and defended his staff and their efforts to make sure no one driving for them is a liability to passengers or surrounding motorists.
“We have a very comprehensive screening process for drugs and alcohol prior to someone being hired,” he said. “Our staff talk to drivers and are trained to look for problems, but it comes down to personal choices.”
Superintendent Shauna Boyce said in a statement that she was grateful for the actions of staff, and, that those who are concerned can rest easy. The division will continue to work with contractors on ride safety.
“We work with our contractors to help ensure that their staff are well trained and in adherence to Alberta Transportation regulations,” Boyce said. “As well as any procedures and policies to operate a bus in an effort to provide a safe and caring environment for our students and everybody else out on the road.”
The investigation is ongoing. If you have any information about this, please contact the Parkland RCMP at 825-220-7267, your local police detachment or Crime Stoppers via the 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) phone line.