SPRING, Texas – A school bus driver who authorities said was intoxicated while driving with kids on board Thursday could soon be released from jail after posting a $100 bond overnight.
Linda Sue Godejohn, 55, of Cleveland, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
"We ended up getting the bus driver out of the bus, giving her a field sobriety test, which she flunked miserably, and she was immediately placed into custody,” Constable Mark Herman said.
On Thursday afternoon, a driver called authorities after they witnessed the bus driving erratically on the roadway and saw the bus driver turn a corner sharply, causing the bus to almost roll over.
“We responded, I think we were there in just a few minutes. We were able to see the bus pulled into a private parking lot, letting kids off the bus,” Herman said.
Herman believes the location was a drop-off point for students. The bus stopped near Hirschfield and Aldine Westfield roads.
There were about 20 to 30 students on the bus ages 13 to 14 years old.
In a statement, YES Prep Public Schools said the students were from its North Forest campus.
The school system said the driver is not employed by them and that the driver is contracted through First Student Bus Company, the bus vendor they use.
“If these allegations prove true, we are furious that this driver put our students in harm’s way,” said YES Prep Public Schools in a statement.
Herman said they called the district attorney’s office and the bus driver was charged with DWI and could face more charges.
They have not released her identity.
“We’re still in the investigative process. They’re getting statements from witnesses that actually saw some of these things. We are taking the suspect down to get blood drawn to strengthen our case,” Herman said.
He said students on the bus were not hurt and another bus driver came to pick up the students.
Witness recounts bus on highway
Frank, who asked KPRC Channel 2 News not to use his real name, said he saw the bus driving on U.S. 59 north and westbound on Beltway 8.
"When she hit the wall, I was, like, 'Woah, she's about to flip,' because it wasn't just a little tap, she was on the wall, the tire started to crawl up on the wall," explained Frank, who was driving behind the bus.
He said he saw the driver veer to the left onto the shoulder. He said it caused debris to kick up onto his car and he backed off.
"I guess she realized she was on the wall, she adjusted," Frank said.
He said when he got home and saw the bus driver's picture on social media, he recognized her immediately.
"Those earrings she had, those were, they're really hard to forget, and then that hairstyle, that hairstyle," Frank said. "Honestly, I was, like, 'Wow!' You know, I never actually thought that I would have been right behind someone who was driving, you know, erratically because of intoxication."
Frank said he thought the driver was distracted for a moment, but he never thought the driver was intoxicated.
He said he wished he would have called the police.
"She should have known better than to be driving like that especially with kids, because that's not just being careless about her life, there's little kids, innocent kids who have their whole life ahead of them," Frank said.
Here is the full statement from YES Prep Public Schools:
"YES Prep Public Schools has learned that a contracted bus driver was pulled over for driving erratically and then taken into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. If these allegations prove true, we are furious that this driver put our students in harm’s way.
"The bus driver is employed by First Student Bus Company – a bus vendor contracted by YES Prep – and is not a YES Prep employee. All of First Student Bus Company’s drivers undergo regular fingerprinting and rigorous background checks. If she is formally charged, she will never again be behind the wheel of a YES Prep-contracted bus.
"We entrust our contracted bus drivers to get children home safely and without incident. Our top priority will always be the safety and well-being of our students – in and out of the classroom."