BATH, Pa. — A school bus driver here who was allegedly transporting students while intoxicated and left them aboard the bus at a gas station faces dozens of charges.
Lori Ann Mankos was driving students home from school on March 1 at around 2:50 p.m. when there was a disturbance on the bus, and she pulled into a gas station, Joseph Kovalchik, superintendent for Northampton Area School District told WFMZ. Pennsylvania State Police officers told the news source that Mankos parked the bus, exited, handed the keys to a gas station employee, and walked away at about 3 p.m. Many parents picked up their children at the gas station, and the rest were taken home by another bus driver. No students were hurt, WFMZ reports.
Police told the news source that Mankos had been driving erratically while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Mason Persiani, one of the students aboard the bus, told WFMZ that the driver was acting strangely, taking turns too quickly and ending up partially in the opposing lane of traffic. He added that students tried asking her to pull over.
Court documents state that in addition to a DUI charge, Mankos faces one count each of careless driving and reckless driving, and 26 counts of child endangerment (one count for each student aboard the bus.)
Mankos’s mother told WFMZ on March 2 that ever since her daughter began driving the bus route she was on when the incident happened, she has not been herself, and "I don't agree with what she did but I understand it [because] she had a nervous breakdown."