A Walton County school bus driver was arrested on Monday in the middle of her route on DUI and child endangerment charges.
According to Walton County schools, Carole Ann Etheridge was arrested at Loganville Middle School after testing positive for DUI.
The school system said Etheridge has been fired. Another driver was called in to finish her route.
According to the Walton County sheriff’s office, children on Etheridge's bus yesterday morning were texting their parents that something was wrong with her, and her driving.
Etheridge is facing 16 counts of child endangerment and DUI. According to Walton County jail officials, all of Etheridge’s charges were written as traffic citations and no warrants were issued, meaning there will be no first court appearance.
The sheriff's office said deputies found open containers of alcohol in Etheridge's purse.
Melanie Walker is the parent of three children who rode on Etheridge's bus this school year. She told 11Alive's Jon Shirek that she complained to their school twice about Etheridge's driving.
“They [Whitaker's children] have been telling me that the bus driver, Miss Ann, has been driving very fast, making sudden stops, making really sharp, really fast turns,” Walker said. “I guess it took a DUI for them to do something about it.”
School system spokesperson Callen Moore said she is not aware of any complaints about Etheridge, and that no complaints from parents about Etheridge ever reached Etheridge's supervisors at the school's transportation department.
Moore said Etheridge has been driving buses for Walton County schools since March, after passing a background check.
“It gives us as a district the opportunity to review our policies and procedures to see where we can make improvements,” Moore said. “Behavior that jeopardizes student safety will not be tolerated and is not tolerated.”
Etheridge is out of jail on a $25,000 bond.