SHAMONG, N.J. — A local woman pleaded guilty to operating a school bus with students on board while she was impaired by alcohol in 2011, Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi announced in late October.
Carole Crockett, 48, entered guilty pleas to driving under the influence and endangering the welfare of a child in Superior Court on Oct. 28. Crockett admitted she was impaired from consuming alcohol on Nov. 8, 2011, while transporting 25 students to their homes from Westampton Middle School at the end of the school day.
A judge set sentencing for Jan. 17, 2014. Under terms of the plea agreement, Crockett will receive three years in New Jersey State Prison.
An investigation by the Westampton Police Department revealed that during the trip home on that day, several students called their parents and expressed fear at the way Crockett was driving.
Parents then called school officials and said that the students on the bus indicated that Crockett almost struck a parked car as well as a jogger, and that she had vomited into her handbag.
Some of the students who are assigned to Crockett’s bus were stranded at school because she left before they all boarded. Some students on board were reportedly so frightened that they departed the bus early at stops that were not near their residences.
School officials called police, who caught up with Crockett at Holly Hills Elementary School, where she had gone to pick up another load of students to transport home.
Crockett’s blood alcohol level was 0.25% at the time of her arrest. In New Jersey, 0.08 is considered legally drunk. Crockett was employed at the time by a private transportation company that was paid by the district to transport students.