School bus driver accused of DUI with 40 children on board

Franklin Co. bus driver arrested for DUI with 40 children on board
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 1:28 AM AKDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF/Gray News) - An Alabama bus driver was arrested on dozens of counts of reckless endangerment after investigators said she was driving under the influence while taking 40 students to school.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said deputies received a call Friday morning about a school bus driver, identified as 58-year-old Rhonda Barksdale, driving erratically. Before deputies arrived, a concerned motorist, a mother taking her own kids to school, pulled in front of the bus to force it to stop.

Oliver said the concerned mother boarded the bus, thinking Barksdale was having a medical emergency, but discovered something else was wrong.

Rhonda Barksdale, a 58-year-old school bus driver, is charged with driving under the influence...
Rhonda Barksdale, a 58-year-old school bus driver, is charged with driving under the influence and 40 counts of reckless endangerment.(FCSO)

The mother told WAFF that Barksdale’s speech was slurred and the kids on the bus were terrified.

Investigators gave Barksdale a field sobriety test, which Oliver said she failed.

Barksdale was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and 40 counts of reckless endangerment, one count for each of the students on board the bus.

Oliver said the students were on their way to Tharptown Elementary and High schools. None of them were injured.

Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton issued the following statement concerning the arrest: “I am very thankful that no student or person was injured today. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation and privacy rights, I will not be able to make any further comments.”

Oliver said they are awaiting blood test results on Barksdale.