Fired Bus Driver to Contest DUI Charge - NBC Chicago

Fired Bus Driver to Contest DUI Charge

Betty Burden was drunk when she drove bus with 50 kids on it, police say



    Fired Bus Driver to Contest DUI Charge
    Betty A. Burden

    A former Mount Prospect school bus driver accused of driving students while she was drunk will contest the felony DUI charge, her attorney said Thursday.

    "We’re going to fight this," defense attorney Ernest Blomquist said after a brief court appearance by ex-bus driver Betty Burden at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

    Many questions remain unanswered about the episode, Blomquist said, including Burden’s problem-free driving over her nearly seven-mile route before her DUI arrest.

    Though Burden was charged with felony and misdemeanor DUI offenses, “there are no traffic offenses,” Blomquist said, contending that indicates her driving was normal despite her alleged alcohol consumption.

    Burden, 54, was arrested March 9 after she delivered about 50 children to their homes from the Lions Park Elementary School in the northwest suburb.

    The veteran driver allegedly failed a field sobriety test, then when given a breathalyzer test registered a blood-alcohol level of .226 — nearly three times the .08 legal limit, authorities have said.

    Burden was fired last month by Mount Prospect School District 57, as was her supervisor, who checked on Burden after receiving a report that she may have been drinking, but didn’t immediately contact police.

    Blomquist said he plans to challenge the results of her blood-alcohol test and called Burden an “exemplary employee.”

    "She’s had nothing but the highest marks for her performance as a bus driver," Blomquist said. "She’s got an absolutely clear driving record. She’s been an exemplary employee."

    Burden, who remains free on bond, faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison if convicted of felony DUI.