School bus driver accused of drinking beer while picking up students in Illinois

AURORA, Ill. (WLS/CNN) - A school bus driver from Illinois faces child endangerment charges after police say she drank beer while picking up more than 30 elementary school students.

School bus video appears to show the driver, 44-year-old Michelle Passley, drinking beer from a brown paper bag while driving as many as 32 elementary school children. Source: Aurora Police Department/WLS/CNN)

Police say 44-year-old Michelle Passley, a school bus driver, bought two cans of beer the morning of Nov. 15 from a Speedway gas station in Aurora, Illinois. Video from the bus appears to show Passley drinking the beer from a brown paper bag while driving as many as 32 elementary school children.

Officers credited the alert gas station clerk for contacting East Aurora School District 131 after selling beer to the driver and allegedly watching her drive off in the bus.

"Shoutout to that convenience store clerk who had the wherewithal to contact the district, so that they could intervene," said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Zinman.

No students were injured in the incident, police say; though parents and investigators are appalled.

"It's infuriating to believe that someone who is trusted with these children on a daily basis could potentially put them in this kind of danger," Zinman said.

The school district says it contracts First Student Bus Company for its busing services. After reviewing video, the school bus company fired Passley, and a manager reported the incident to police.

“At First Student, there is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport. We understand and share in the concern this incident has caused. We are incredibly disappointed by our former driver's actions,” said the company in a statement.

Passley was arrested Monday. She is charged with two misdemeanor counts of endangering the life and health of a child. She has been released on a $100 bond and is due in court again Dec. 27.

Copyright 2019 WLS, Aurora Police Department via CNN. All rights reserved.

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