BOULDER, Colo. — A former school bus driver who was charged last year with DUI, vehicular assault, and child abuse for a school bus crash pleaded guilty to careless driving earlier this month, Daily Camera reports.
Elizabeth Burris faces one year of unsupervised probation for the charge, but prosecutors dropped 13 other charges against her, according to the newspaper.
As previously reported, in December, Burris lost control of her bus and it overturned. Eight students were aboard the bus, and two were seriously injured. Burris allegedly told state troopers that she was taking six prescription medications at the time of the crash. Burris’ attorney said that Burris was under a doctor’s care for fibromyalgia, the school district was aware of her condition, and that Burris’ doctor knew she was a bus driver before prescribing the medication. Burris passed a urine drug screen for illicit drugs at the hospital after the crash, and passed mandatory random drug tests administered by the school district, her attorney said.
However, prosecutors said that Burris failed a sobriety test at the hospital, according to Daily Camera. Deputy District Attorney Lisa Saccomano said in court that the Colorado State Patrol had the findings of a drug-recognition expert who examined Burris after the crash reviewed by an outside agency that didn't agree with the original conclusion, the newspaper reports. Saccomano also said that based on review of the test, the district attorney's office would not have probable cause to proceed on DUI and vehicular assault charges, and the results of a blood test and Burris' statement to police would be suppressed.
Burris’ employment with the St. Vrain Valley School District ended on Feb. 17, as previously reported. She had also been written up 20 times between August 2013 and the time of the crash, including an accident in which she was accused of speeding and tailgating, and numerous instances in which the thoroughness of her pre-trip safety checks were questioned.
Burris’ attorney said that Burris was suffering from a migraine and fatigue when she crashed the bus Dec. 7, but she denies that her client was impaired, according to Daily Camera. She is due back in court on Oct. 4 for sentencing.
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