Aurora Police say they arrested an elementary school bus driver who has been charged after she allegedly purchased beer at a convenience store and drank it while picking up elementary school students during a morning bus route in Aurora.
Police released video of Friday's incident which can be viewed, here:
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that 44-year-old Michelle Passley of North Aurora was arrested and charged with two Class A Misdemeanor counts of Endangering the Life/Health of a Child.
Ziman said that on Friday, November 15th, a manager from First Student Bus Company came to the Aurora Police Department to report an incident involving one of their drivers. The company contracts with East Aurora School District #131. The driver was not a district employee. Officials say the students on board were from district schools.
The manager told the officer that an observant convenience store clerk called the district and told them they had just sold beer to a woman and then watched her get onto a school bus and drive away.
Police say that school district administrators immediately contacted the bus company to investigate the matter who reviewed video from the school bus which police allege, "appears to show the driver drinking from two beer cans while picking up elementary students during one of the driver’s morning routes."
Chief Ziman commented on the incident.
Police say the company contacted the police department and then terminated Passley.
At the same time, school district administrators also contacted the Aurora Police Department and the Department of Child and Family Services.
Officials say police detectives opened a criminal investigation into the matter and began collecting evidence, looking at video clips, and interviewing witnesses.
Detectives learned Passley picked up the school bus around 6:00 a.m. on Friday and completed one route. She then stopped at a gas station in the 900 block of North Farnsworth Avenue and allegedly purchased two cans of beer, returned to the bus, and drove off.
Detectives reviewed video from the school bus, which shows Passley allegedly place the beer can into a brown paper bag and drink from it while driving 32 elementary school children on the bus. The video shows Passley allegedly drink from two beer cans.
Chief Ziman said Tuesday that it is not yet known what Passley's intoxication level was or if there were any previous incidents.
The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office has also been contacted to review Passley’s Commercial Driver’s License.
Passley was arrested Monday evening and was released on $100 bond at the Aurora Police Department. She will next appear in Aurora Branch Court on December 27th.