Local News

Cumberland school bus driver faces DWI charge

Posted October 20, 2011 9:08 a.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2011 4:21 p.m. EDT

— A Cumberland County school bus driver has been charged with driving while impaired in connection with a wreck near Stedman this week.

Eva Myles Williams was driving bus No. 786 when it ran into the back of a car stopped for other traffic on Maxwell Road, near N.C. Highway 24, at about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to the wreck report. The bus was traveling at about 5 mph at the time.

About 20 students at Cape Fear High School and Mac Williams Middle School were on board, but no one was injured.

Williams has been suspended while the school district and the State Highway Patrol investigate, district spokeswoman Theresa Perry said. The 22-year bus driver had a spotless record before the wreck, Perry said.

Trooper Greg Steffens of the Highway Patrol said Williams has a medical condition that required her to use oxygen, but she had run out and essentially came to work oxygen-deprived. That condition can affect a person's judgment.

Williams also had taken cough medicine containing codeine, which can induce sleep, Steffens said. Results from tests were pending.

DWI charges can be issued when law enforcement officers suspect that a driver is impaired by medications or drugs, as well as alcohol. Troopers said that alcohol and illegal drugs are not suspected in this case.

Perry said Williams never informed district transportation officials about her procedure. If she had, she wouldn't have been allowed to drive, Perry said.

A woman who declined to provide her name but claimed to be the mother of a passenger on the bus said she and other parents had complained about Williams' driving. Perry said neither of the schools nor district officials had received any such complaints.

Along with DWI, Williams, 50, of 8147 Norris Road in Dunn, was charged with reckless driving and failing to reduce speed.