Driving a school bus can be stressful. Not only do school bus drivers have to maneuver a very large bus through city streets and traffic, but they also have to do it all while dealing with loud and sometimes unruly children on board. But a Longview, Washington school bus driver found out the hard way that it probably would have been better to wait until after her routes were completed before having a drink.
On Thursday, September 12, 2019, Longview police were called to investigate a school bus driver who appeared to be driving under the influence. Around 4 p.m.—after the school bus driver had completed her two afternoon routes—the police pulled over Catherine Maccarone near the 2900th block of Nichols Boulevard. When they approached the driver, they could smell intoxicants. Maccarone was then given a breath test, which showed her blood alcohol content (BAC) was at .096 percent.
Maccarone was charged with DUI and two counts of reckless endangerment. She will also probably face additional charges once the Longview Police and the Longview School District complete their investigations into the incident. She might also lose her job. Up to 90 children could have been on the bus at the time Maccarone was allegedly driving under the influence.
Washington CDLs and DUI
To operate a large vehicle such as a semi-truck or school bus, a person has to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) in the state of Washington. CDL operators are held to a much higher standard as far as regular drivers.
For example, if Maccarone's BAC was at .096, that is barely above the legal limit for a regular driver, which is .08 percent. But under a set of statutes under RCW 46.25, a legal BAC limit for CDL drivers is .04, even if they are driving their own vehicle and not a school bus or semi-truck at the time they are arrested. If Maccarone is convicted of a DUI, she will immediately lose her CDL.
In Washington, if a person is stopped and arrested for DUI and there are minor children in the vehicle, the laws become very strict. If caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with children present, a person may face child endangerment charges.
Child endangerment charges often have harsher and longer penalties than a simple DUI conviction. If there were up to 90 children in the bus at the time Maccarone was allegedly driving under the influence, she will most certainly face child endangerment charges on top of the DUI and reckless endangerment charges, but it is unknown at this time whether she will face 90 separate charges of child endangerment
Steve Karimi, Experienced DUI Attorney
If you or a loved one have a CDL and have been charged with a DUI and/or child endangerment, you need to call the Law Office of Steve Karimi today to learn how his team can help defend your rights and poke holes in the prosecution's charges. Steve Karimi is an experienced DUI lawyer representing clients in the greater Seattle area. Call 206-621-8777 today or fill out the contact form to get started.