ALIQUIPPA (KDKA/AP) – A Beaver County woman has been charged with driving a school bus carrying students while under the influence of alcohol.
Patty Komack, 53, drove school buses for the Hopewell School District since 1998. But her 15-year plus ride ended abruptly late last month.READ MORE: Investigators Looking For Cause Of Monessen House Fire
Township police say other school bus employees contacted Hopewell Area School District Superintendent Charles Reina after smelling alcohol on Komack’s breath the morning of April 23.
“We were notified by the school district that some co-workers suspected a bus driver of being under the influence of alcohol,” said Chief Brian Uhrmacher, of Hopewell Township Police.
But by then, Komack had already transported 12 students, seven to Hopewell High School and five others to a local private school, part of a contract with the district.
Komack was immediately removed from the remainder of the route, and police say her blood alcohol level was higher than the legal limit for a school bus driver.
“For a normal vehicle, they would be .08, but a school bus driver, it’s .02,” said Chief Uhrmacher. “I think it’s for a couple of different reasons. One, the vehicle is a lot larger; and secondly, the person is charged with the safety of children.”
Another driver took over the rest of her route that day.READ MORE: North Fayette Township Rallies Together To Support 4-Year-Old Zoey Bair's Battle With Anaplastic Ependymoma
The district issued this statement on Tuesday:
“We are proud of the employees who reported this situation so we could take action in the best interest and safety of our students.”
She has been terminated from her job as a bus driver for the school district.
She faces DUI related charges and 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child because there were 12 kids on the bus.
Komack did not return KDKA calls for a comment.FEMA Program To Reimburse Families' Funeral Expenses For COVID-19 Related Deaths
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