North Carolina

NC school bus driver arrested for DUI with kids on board

A Waynesville woman is accused of driving a bus while intoxicated with children onboard.

Angell Kirkpatrick Benson, 46, was arrested Wednesday afternoon, according to our sister affiliate WLOS.

According to the police report, she blew a 0.19 on her breathalyzer test, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

The police report said Benson was driving on the Smoky Mountain Expressway about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when she crossed the center line twice and later almost ran off the road on Highway 19/23 in the Dellwood area of Waynesville before pulling over for the pursuing officer.

The report said Benson performed poorly on tests like the “horizontal gaze” and “one leg stand.”

Two children were taken off the bus. And Benson's license was revoked.

Benson was charged with misdemeanor driving while impaired and failure to maintain lane control. The police report said further charges are pending.

Benson is the program manager for an after school education program called Roots in Education. It has a facility use agreement with Haywood County Schools. But school officials said it's a private business, the bus is not the district's property, nor is Benson a Haywood County Schools employee.

While innocence is presumed until a court finding, Ellen Pitt, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said these types of incidents happen too often with children in vehicles. She's advocating for more child passenger safety laws and teaching kids what to look out for.

“They look at their eyes. They smell. Make them talk to them so that they can make some kind of determination about whether to get in the car,” Pitt said.

Benson was released from custody on a written promise to appear in district court.

The police report confirms she is the sister of County Commission Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick.


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