Probation For Drunken School Bus Driver

Updated 01/26/11 – 5:15 p.m.

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A former school bus driver who admitted to being drunk when she drove students has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation and 480 hours of community service.

Betty Burden, 55, faced up to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony drunk driving, but instead Cook County Judge John Scotillo sentenced her to probation and community service.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

Burden pleaded guilty earlier this month to being drunk when she drove a Mount Prospect school bus carrying about 45 Lions Park Elementary School students to their homes on March 9, 2010.

Burden failed a field sobriety test and blew a .226 on a Brethalyzer test, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 for drunk driving.

She admitted she had been drinking vodka and orange juice before driving the kids home, police said.

Cook County prosecutors also obtained videotape from a squad-car camera that showed how Burden was driving before police pulled her over. The video also showed Burden’s field-sobriety test.

Burden has been fired by School District 57. Her supervisor, who had checked on Burden after being told she might be driving drunk, was also fired for failing to immediately call police.

Last fall, Burden unsuccessfully tried to have the DUI charges dismissed, a ruling that ultimately led to her guilty plea Wednesday.

More from Mike Krauser
  • franklin808

    Holy Cow, .226 !!! Could she walk?

  • stephanie

    I can’t imagine being a parent of one of those children that were on that bus. I understand addiction(luckily mine is food). But, how do you make the decision to get drunk when your working when you know your decision once your drunk won’t be rational? How do you make the decision knowing your drunk to get on the road? I understand when your a young adult maybe and your thinking process isn’t totally developed. I know as a young teen you feel like you can do anything…and I’m not saying that is right either, but I’m saying she REALLY knew what she was doing. She’s lived a life where I know she must have seen and would hear horrible stories like we all have about drinking and driving. I’m also not saying she should go to jail. I hate having to pay for people like that. I do hope she loses her license forever. I think she needs an ankle alarm thing so she can pay for her own living expenses and care for any children she might have.

  • Jim

    The scary part is you do everything you can to make sure your kids grow up healthy, feed them the right stuff, make sure they don’t get in harms way, and the last place you think something like this could happen is on a school bus. On on hand the lady obviously had a problem on the other she could have killed a bus full of kids. Kids win over compassion-throw the book at her!

  • Bus Driver Picks Up Students While Drunk

    […] CBS News, click here for original […]

  • South Side

    Alcoholism is a disease, yes, but not an excuse for driving drunk. Especially driving kids, 1-3 years is appropriate. She’ll dry out in prison and have a shot at recovery when she gets out.

  • Liz

    I was hoping they’d give her mandatory AA meetings or jail time – one or the other.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live