The Hamilton County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Office investigated a single vehicle crash involving a Hamilton Heights School Corp. (HHSC) bus carrying 21 students that occurred on Monday shortly before 7:30 a.m., according to a news release.  

According to the initial investigation, the bus drove off the road at what investigators estimate was approximately 40 mph. The bus struck a guide wire to a utility pole, then traveled along the edge of the roadway before returning to the pavement.

The bus driver, identified as Janet Kay Shaw, 53, continued the route, picking up additional students, and brought them to Hamilton Heights Middle School.

HHSC personnel were made aware of the incident when several students notified their parents by phone from the bus, and the parents then notified school personnel. Shaw was immediately removed from the bus as it arrived at the school.

HHSC said in a statement released on Monday that it immediately suspended Shaw, and will recommend termination of her employment.

Shaw had been a bus driver for the district since 2001, school officials said. As with all bus drivers for districts across Indiana, she was subject to mandatory random drug testing screenings and had passed them, officials added.

As soon as HHSC was made aware of the incident, officials contacted parents of students on the bus, and they all successfully completed the school day, according to HHSC officials. No serious injuries as a result of the crash were reported among the students. The bus sustained minor damage.

According to the initial sheriff’s office report, Shaw did not report the collision to law enforcement or school personnel and did not stop at the scene of the crash. The collision resulted in downed power lines and a transformer malfunction, causing a temporary power outage in the area.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Shaw on initial charges of:

•    4 counts of leaving the scene of a personal injury crash (A Misdemeanor)
•    2 counts of leaving the scene of a property damage crash (B Misdemeanor)
•    1 count of reckless driving (A Misdemeanor)
•    2 counts of possession of a controlled substance (A Misdemeanor)
•    1 count of operating while intoxicated (C Misdemeanor)
•    21 counts of operating while intoxicated endangering a minor (Level 6 Felony)

Shaw made her first court appearance on Tuesday, WISH reports. She pleaded not guilty, but court documents state that after the collision, her balance was off, and investigators said her speech was slow and her eyes were glassy, according to the news source.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Shaw had taken pain pills and a muscle relaxer the night before the crash, WISH reports. Authorities told the news source they found three bottles of pills, and that some of the pills were not prescribed to her.

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