School bus driver charged with DUI: ‘Probably the tequila…’

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — Words cannot describe the feeling some parents got watching a video of their children riding on a school bus driven by an alleged drunk driver.

“Oh my God, did you see the bus the way it’s swerving?” parent Katrina Drlik asked WGCL. “Oh my God, that car had to literally go on the grass.”

Dash cam video shows Carole Ann Etheridge crossing the center line into oncoming traffic several times as children on board screamed in their seats.

At one point, Etheridge stopped in the middle of the road, and she even missed the main entrance to the middle school, telling students she wasn’t feeling well.

“It’s hard not to go into tears right now. It’s hard to imagine what these kids went through,” Drlik said.

Students contacted their parents, who then notified the school system.

Minutes later, Etheridge was pulled off the bus at Loganville Middle School and ordered to see a school resource officer, where she blew a .089 on her initial breathalyzer test.

Deputies found several open containers of alcohol, including tequila, inside her purse, WXIA reports.

“We went out for my birthday,” she told police during an interview. “We just had a couple beers and a couple shots of tequila. Probably the tequila is what gets it—cause it’s strong.”

Etheridge was fired after being charged with DUI while driving 31 children to school, and 16 counts of child endangerment for every one of them under the age of 14.

“I’ve got chills watching this video. I want to start crying right now,” Drlik said.

Investigators say Etheridge still blew more than a .04 three to four hours after her initial breathalyzer test. The legal limit for bus drivers in Georgia is .04.

Parents are now considering legal action.