A crash that sent five school-age children to a local hospital is being blamed on a 23-year-old driver police say may have been intoxicated at the time of the accident. The woman has been charged with DUI by Illinois law enforcement after her vehicle struck a school bus on the morning of Aug. 21. The investigation is ongoing and no court date has yet been set.
According to police reports, around 8:30 a.m. a small bus headed eastbound collided with the defendant's vehicle, forcing the bus onto its side after the driver lost control. The bus driver and all five student passengers, middle-school students on their way to their first day of school, were taken to hospital with injuries described as minor. The driver of the car was also taken to hospital where she was treated and remanded into police custody.
The details of the arrest are incomplete -- police said they had reason to believe the woman was on drugs at the time of the crash, but they did not speculate as to the type or nature of the drugs in question. There was also no mention of roadside sobriety testing or blood tests taken to confirm or deny the allegations. Regardless, the woman is currently in police custody awaiting trial.
Unlike alcohol-related accidents, a DUI involving drugs can stem from a variety of different potential causes. The prosecution will have to prove attending officers conducted the arrest by the book and respected the rights of the defendant. Furthermore, even if the Illinois police investigation reveals the woman was on drugs at the time of the crash, they will also need to prove the drugs were taken for the express purpose of intoxication and that the woman was not suffering from a side effect or allergic reaction.
Source: Rockford Register Star, Woman, 23, charged with DUI after crash with Rockton school bus, Dorothy Schneider and Jennifer Wheeler, Aug. 21, 2013