Police: Bus Driver Drove Drunk With Kids Aboard (Photo)

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A school bus driver in Georgia was arrested after allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol with children on the bus.

Carole Ann Etheridge, 49, was taken into custody on Aug. 21 and charged with one count of DUI and 16 counts of endangering a child. She was fired by the Walton County school system following her arrest, according to AJC.com.

In dash cam video footage, children can reportedly be heard screaming as Etheridge veers the bus into oncoming traffic several times. She also stopped the bus in the middle of the road and missed the entrance to the school, CNN reports.

"I've got chills watching this video. I want to start crying right now," parent Katrina Drlik said. "It's hard not to go into tears right now. It's hard to imagine what these kids went through."

Etheridge was confronted by school officials after students contacted their parents and told them about her erratic driving. She reportedly had a large bottle of tequila, several small bottles of vodka and a container of prescription pills in her purse. She did not have her driver's license on her.

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An audio recording of Etheridge's breathalyzer test -- which took place just after 8 a.m. -- was obtained by WXIA.

"When I tell you to blow into this, I want you to blow as hard as you can, as if you were blowing up a balloon," a Walton County Sheriff's deputy tells her.

"I'm nervous," Etheridge says after failing to blow hard enough.

When she tries again, her blood alcohol content is revealed to be .089. The legal limit for driving commercial vehicles is .04.

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"We went out for my birthday," Etheridge explains. "We just had a couple beers and a couple shots of tequila. Probably the tequila is what gets it -- 'cause it's strong."

When Etheridge's route supervisor walks in the room, the bus driver asks what the consequences of her actions will be.

"I'm not the boss, so I can't tell you what it means. But it's not good," the supervisor tells her.

"So you think they're gonna fire me?" Etheridge asks. "I just didn't think. I woke up… like I was fine. I didn't think. I don't know what I'm gonna do now."

Hours later, Etheridge did another breathalyzer test and blew a .043, CNN reports.

While there were a total of 31 students on the bus, only 16 of them were under the age of 14, which is why Etheridge faces 16 counts of endangering a child as opposed to 31.

"If my child were on that bus and he was 15, I would think this law would apply to him, but obviously the code section only allows us to charge them if they were under the age of 14," Walton sheriff's Chief Deputy Keith Brooks told AJC.com.

Etheridge was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

Sources: AJC.com, WXIA, CNN via WGBA / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: Walton County Sheriff's Office via WXIA, Bernd Moehle/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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