CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. -- A Chesterfield County School District bus driver is behind bars, accused of operating a bus with students on board while intoxicated.
Angela Caldwell, 53, is charged with DUI and child endangerment. Authorities say she had a blood alcohol level of 0.31 percent.
Caldwell was driving her route to Central High School in Pageland around 7:30 a.m.
"A school bus just whipped out in front of me and I'm like wow," said Eugene Moore.
Moore took his usual route on Airline Road to his landscaping job but was running late Monday morning. He said he followed the bus for about five miles and watched the driver pick up children with the hazards lights on, swerving all over the road.
"It looked like she was going to flip the bus and I was like 'oh my God,'" he said.
Eric Clyburn, Moore's coworker, began recording the bus with his cell phone.
"She went around a curve and a sand truck almost hit her head on," Moore said. "I'm like, 'wow I have to do something before we get to S.C. 265.'"
S.C. 265 is a major truck route. Moore says he could see the panicked students on the bus and decided to use his car to try to stop the bus before it reached the intersection.
"Maybe three to 400 feet, it took me to stop that school bus," he said. "I was scared she was going to rear-end me."
Moore says he initially thought Caldwell's erratic driving was due to a medical issue. However, when he came face-to-face with her, he said she was slurring her words and could barely stand.
"When she stood up to open the door, she fell into the door," he said.
Moore said he got the students off the bus and another driver flagged down a S.C. Transport Officer who was headed to work.
Caldwell was taken to the Chesterfield County jail.
Lisa Blanton saw the bus pulled over on her property as she got ready to take her daughter to Central High.
"Seven-something in the morning and you're drunk... I don't really know what to make of that," she said. "Especially when you have this type of job and you're responsible for people's lives, children's lives."
According to the Chesterfield County School District, there were five Central High students on board. They were taken to class by their parents. Superintendent Harrison Goodwin says he is grateful that Moore and Clyburn intervened.
"If the worst outcome of this is dealing with an employee matter, then we consider ourselves very fortunate," he said. "Obviously, the safety of our students is the first thing that we are concerned about."
Caldwell has been placed on administrative leave from the district. Goodwin says she will face further disciplinary action.
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