Aurora police have arrested and charged a school bus driver and released a video showing she purchased beer at a convenience store then drank it while picking up students during a morning bus route in Aurora.
According to an APD news release, a manager from First Student Bus Company came to the Aurora Police Department on Friday, Nov. 15, to report an incident involving one of their drivers.
The manager told the officer that a convenience store clerk called East Aurora School District 131, saying he just sold beer to a woman, then watched her get onto a school bus and drive away.
According to East Aurora School District 131, the district contracts First Student for bus services, and the driver is not an employee of the district.
Police said school district administrators immediately contacted the bus company to investigate the matter. First Student reviewed video from the school bus which appears to show the driver drinking from two beer cans while picking up elementary students during one of the driver’s morning routes.
As soon as the bus company officials reviewed the video, they contacted the Aurora Police Department and terminated the bus driver’s employment. At the same time, District 131 administrators contacted the Aurora Police Department and the Department of Child and Family Services.
Aurora police detectives opened a criminal investigation into the matter and began collecting evidence, looking at video clips and interviewing witnesses.
Detectives learned the bus driver picked up the school bus around 6 a.m. Friday and completed one route. She then stopped at a gas station in the 900 block of North Farnsworth Avenue and purchased two cans of beer, returned to the bus, and drove off.
Detectives reviewed video from the school bus, which shows the driver place the beer can into a brown paper bag and drink from it while driving numerous elementary school children on the bus. In all, 32 students were observed on the bus while the driver was drinking from the two beer cans.
Michelle Passley, 44, was arrested and charged with two Class A misdemeanor counts of Endangering the Life/Health of a Child.
Aurora police also contacted the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to review Passley’s Commercial Driver’s License.
Passley was arrested Monday evening and released on $100 bond. She will next appear in the Aurora Branch Court on Dec. 27, 2019.
“The Aurora Police Department is grateful for the initial concerned call to the district from the store’s clerk and the quick actions by East Aurora District 131 administrators and the First Student Bus Company for reporting the incident, so an investigation could be initiated,” the APD news release stated.
The video can be viewed and downloaded here: https://youtu.be/0UnM1WaeMcA
SOURCE: Aurora Police Department news release