Louisburg bus driver suspected of driving students while under the influence
Posted November 20, 2014
Louisburg, N.C. — A school bus driver in Louisburg has been suspended after she allegedly drove students to school while under the influence of alcohol.
A Franklin County Schools spokesman said Thursday that Barbara Thorne, who drives Bus 196 to Terrell Lane Middle School, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the school district.
Police Chief Rick Lassiter said Thorne had a blood alcohol level of 0.10 when officers took her into custody around 10:30 a.m. In North Carolina, any blood alcohol content above 0.04 is illegal for drivers with a commercial driver's license.
"She had actually already arrived at the school and unloaded her chidlren," Lassiter said.
Thorne, 63, of 824 Trinity Church Road, Louisburg, had dropped off students when an assistant principal smelled alcohol on her and notified a school resource officer, Lassiter said.
The school resource officer then called police.
Lassiter said police received no reports of any driving issues and that authorities are still investigating the case. That might include looking at any video or any GPS device on the bus.
The school system said Thorne has been employed by the school system for 12 years, but it declined to comment on the case, saying only that its priority is the well-being of its students.
"School officials work tirelessly to ensure the continued safety of every student – incidents such as this do not represent the dedication and integrity of Franklin County Schools' faculty and staff," the district said. "We are fortunate to report no students were injured as a result of this incident."