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March 11, 2010 - School Bus Driver Charged with DUI

A Chicago-area school-bus driver allegedly took 50 young children to their homes while her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Betty Burden, 54, faces a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday. She was arrested Tuesday after completing her route in suburban Mount Prospect.

Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney, said Burden admitted drinking vodka before beginning her route at the Lions Park Elementary School. She allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .226 and smelled of liquor when police stopped her.

Burden has also been suspended without pay and could be fired next week. She was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Investigators say another driver reported smelling alcohol on her breath Tuesday afternoon, but her supervisor did not call police for more than an hour.

"What happened was totally unacceptable," School District 57 Board President Joe Leane said, adding that the delay is under investigation.

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