Local News

Lee County school bus driver charged with DWI

Posted September 10, 2009 4:21 p.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2009 6:42 a.m. EDT

— A 51-year-old school bus driver in Lee County was arrested Thursday morning and charged with DWI, Broadway police said.

Bonnie Gilmore Sloan, of 65 Uppergate Lane in Sanford, was also charged with one count each of reckless driving to endanger and misdemeanor child abuse and two counts each of injury to personal property, hit-and-run and leaving the scene of property damage. Authorities said she hit two mailboxes – on West Harrington Avenue and Ruth Ann Lane – and left both scenes.

Sloan, a bus driver for East Lee Middle School, was arrested after a resident along West Harrington Avenue called police around 8 a.m. to report his mailbox was damaged. The resident also told police that his stepson had called his wife to say his bus driver was driving erratically and he was scared.

After Sloan dropped off the bus at the school, she got into her personal vehicle and hit the road again. Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said a deputies pulled Sloan over after seeing her swerving along Highway 42.

"It was obvious something was wrong," Carter said.

Sloan was charged with DWI twice – once for driving her personal vehicle and once for driving the school bus, authorities said.

One of approximately 20 students on the bus said that Sloan was texting while driving and not watching the road. The student, who did not want to be identified, said the bus was on two-wheels at one point and nearly struck two cars before being backed into a ditch.

“She could barely get in the bus parking lot, and she finally let us out,” the student said.

Upon exiting the bus, several of the students called their parents to let them know about the ride.

Sloan has been released under a $10,000 secured bond. Her next court date is Nov. 19, police said.

Sloan, who also works as a cafeteria worker at Broadway Elementary, has been suspended without pay from her job pending an investigation, according Lee County Schools spokeswoman Sharon Spence. Sloan has worked for the school system since 2005.