NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A school bus driver in Newark with a busload of special needs kids on board crashed into a tree, apparently while under the influence of a drug Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
It happened at 1:10 p.m. at 14th Avenue and Jones Street.
Web Extra: News Conference On Special Needs School Bus Crash In Newark
None of the 12 children on board were injured. They were all special needs students at the 14th Avenue School and ranged in age from 5-13.
“First responders observed that the driver was unconscious at the scene,” said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. First responders administered Narcan to the driver, who was unconscious and still behind the wheel, Ambrose said.
A witness said the crash took place at a very slow speed.
“While at the scene, police officers observed contraband… drug paraphernalia. She appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic,” he said.
The driver, 57-year-old Lisa Byrd of Newark, was taken to University Hospital for treatment.
Byrd faces 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while impaired. She previously had her driving status revoked from 1996-2006, Ambrose said.
“The students were shaken up and taken to area hospitals,” Ambrose said. They’re being released to their parents.
“This is a pathetic situation putting these children at risk and the mayor is outraged,” Ambrose said.