Carole Ann Etheridge, 49, was in the middle of her school bus route when she was stopped and removed from the bus. She was arrested on Monday at Loganville Middle School in Georgia. She faces 16 counts of child endangerment, along with driving under the influence (DUI). Walton County School District (WCSD) fired Etheridge immediately after her arrest.

In addition to the 31 students she was driving, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office stated that Etheridge had prescription pills, four small bottles of vodka, and a large bottle of tequila stowed in her purse.

According to a toxicology report and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, her blood alcohol level was .043. The limit for commercial drivers is .04.

School bus driver fired immediately after arrest

Callen Moore is the Public Relations Officer with WCSD. She confirmed that Etheridge is no longer driving a school bus, and her employment was terminated. As an effect of the bus driver’s arrest, a different driver was called to complete her route. Moore stated that WCSD doesn’t “tolerate any behavior” that puts the safety of students at risk, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relayed.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office said that students riding on the bus, driven by Etheridge, texted their parents that something was wrong with their driver and how she was driving, WXIA reported.

A parent contacted the school.

Student on bus ‘feared’ for his life

Of the 31 students on the bus, Moore said, 16 of the students were under 14-years-old. One of the students was 16-year-old Ashton Anderson riding the bus to Loganville High School. He told CBS46 that he “feared for his life.” He said that when the bus “got to the ‘S’ curve,” it seemed to him that Etheridge was driving between 60 and 70 miles per hour.

She then turned into a ditch and hit a driveway. “We started to wobble,” Anderson said. “I thought we were all going to die.”

This school year Melanie Walker’s three children rode on the bus driven by Etheridge. Twice she relayed dissatisfaction to their school about how Etheridge drove, according to 11Alive. Walker said that her children told her that their bus driver was “driving very fast,” that she made sudden stops, and made “sharp, really fast turns.”

Moore, however, stated that complaints about Etheridge did not reach the bus driver’s supervisors within the transportation department for the school and that she was not aware of complaints either.

According to Moore, Etheridge passed a background check, which indicated there were no problems. Since March, she drove buses for Walton County schools.

Until January, Etheridge worked Gwinnett County, GA. She was fired for “unsatisfactory performance,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relayed.

Child endangerment counts against driver exclude students over age of 14

The 16 counts of child endangerment Etheridge was charged with only represent each student under the age of 14. The child endangerment law does not apply to the older students who were also on the bus and potentially endangered by Etheridge’s driving under the influence.

Her bond for the DUI was $3,042 and $1,420 for each of the child endangerment charges. Etheridge posted $25,000 bond Monday afternoon and was released.