School Bus Driver Admits to Being Drunk on Duty

Betty Burden faces up to three years in prison following March arrest

By Courtney O'Callaghan
|  Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011  |  Updated 4:30 PM CDT
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School bus driver Betty A. Burden has been charged with Driving Under the Influence while on the job. The 54-year-old has been suspended without pay.

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A former Mount Prospect school bus driver admitted in court on Wednesday that she was drunk when she drove over a seven-mile route to drop off about 50 students to their homes last spring.

Betty Burden, 55, pleaded guilty to felony drunken driving charges in a brief hearing at the Rolling Meadows courthouse. She is now facing up to three years in prison.

Burden was pulled over in her empty bus last March after a colleague of hers called the transportation coordinator for the school district to report that Burden's breath smelled of alcohol.

Mount Prospect police Sgt. Michael Eterno said Burden admitted to drinking vodka and orange juice before her shift.  He arrested her and took her to the police station, where she registered a .225 blood alcohol content, which is nearly three times over the legal limit.

About a week after her arrest and unpaid leave, Burden was fired.

The veteran driver and defense attorney Ernest Blomquist  unsucessfully fought the charges with a simple defense that she never got a ticket and always got the kids home.

Blomquist said he will ask that Burden be placed on probation as apposed to prison time since Burden driving record is outstanding and has never been arrested prior to the event, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 26.
 

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