WESTHAMPTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A Shamong woman is accused of driving drunk with a school bus full of middle schoolers on Monday.
The children, ranging from fifth to eighth grade, called their parents from on board the bus to say their driver, 46-year-old Carole Crockett, was swerving and falling asleep behind the wheel, according to authorities.
Alaize Casimiro, 11, told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan it was the scariest ride of her life.
“She kept swerving like she would go on the other side of the road and come back,” Casimiro said. “When I first got on, I could tell her eyes were like squinting, but I thought it was from the sunlight. But as we went the sun wasn’t in her eye, but she was still doing it.”
“I saw her drift off to sleep,” Angel Ogoemsin added. “I was really scared.”
Parents immediately took action after getting calls from their children and contacted a vice principal at the Westhampton Middle School who in turn called 911, reports CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.
Nyesha Darrah, whose son was on the bus, said he “ran in the house frantic and said the bus driver almost ran off the road into a pond. He said some of the kids on the bus was so scared they got off at the first stop and actually walked home.”
Darrah was the first parent to call the school vice principal because she knew Crockett would be picking up children at the elementary school, too.
“The first thing I thought was somebody had to go stop her,” Darrah said.
And they did.
Crockett was arrested when police found her at Holly Hills School trying to pick up more students.
“If it wasn’t for the kids that called on the bus itself we probably would be talking about something else that happened,” Sgt. Steven Ent told 1010 WINS. “They helped avoid something major happen here.”
No injuries were reported.
“We had an officer go over and speak with the kids the next day about the incident to try to help calm them,” Ent said. “All the parents are being kept up to date on what’s going on.”
Police said Crockett’s blood alcohol level was .25 — more than three times the legal limit for a commercial driver.
Crockett faces 25 counts of driving under the influence with a minor and child endangerment.
Crockett was driving for Wills Bus Service based in Lumberton. No one answered the door at the bus company, where police were called to ask CBS 2 to leave.
Crockett, who is out on bail, is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 17. She could not be reached for comment.
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