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.

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