GENESEO, N.Y. — After driving a summer school bus route on Monday morning, Manon Coyne went to a house where police happened to be responding to a case of alcohol poisoning and drug possession.
According to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office, Coyne, 47, was observed driving and was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed that she had just transported five Geneseo Central School District students to their first day of summer school, although they arrived safely.
Coyne was arrested and charged with five counts of felony driving while intoxicated (DWI), a single count of aggravated DWI and five additional counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .24%.
The school bus driver was placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending district disciplinary procedures.
In a statement, Livingston Undersheriff James Szczesniak commended Geneseo Superintendent Timothy Hayes and his staff for "the quick response and assistance in assuring that all students had arrived safely at the schools. The communication between the Sheriff's Office and school allowed all family members to be quickly assured that the safety of the children is the true priority."
In the original incident at the house, a 49-year-old man was transported to a hospital with alcohol poisoning. While at the residence, deputies discovered a quantity of narcotics and arrested a 19-year-old woman.
In response to Coyne's arrest, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) issued a statement denouncing the driver's alleged conduct.
"If all the charges are proven true, her actions were inexcusable and put the lives of the children on her school bus at risk, and that is unacceptable to us," the association said.
NYAPT has called for increased testing and observation of school bus drivers and has endorsed legislation that would provide for such enhanced testing protocols. The association's position calls for greater frequency and sampling of school bus driver tests as well as ensuring that sufficient and qualified management is available to administer random tests and daily observations.
"Pending local investigation, it is not clear that these changes would have prevented the events in Geneseo, but we continue to believe that more preventive measures are needed to bolster our efforts to keep our children safe at all times," NYAPT said. "We regret the events in Geneseo but believe it is important to reassure the public, especially our parents and students, that the school bus remains the absolute safest way to transport our children to school."
In May, officials from NYAPT and the New York School Bus Contractors Association provided testimony in a state Senate hearing on a proposal to mandate alcohol ignition interlocks on school buses. Both associations opposed the bill but recommended other efforts to prevent DWI.