SIDNEY — A Sidney woman who is now a former Sidney City Schools bus driver has been charged with 16 counts of endangering children after Sidney Police investigated a report one of Sidney City Schools’ bus drivers was driving erratically.
Madge Brown, 54, was charged Wednesday, Oct. 14, with 16 counts of endangering children, misdemeanors of the first-degree, according to Sidney Police Sgt. Rob Jameson.
On Oct. 6, 2020, a complaint about a bus driver was filed with the Sidney Police Department by a parent of a student in the Sidney City Schools, Jameson reported. The complaint alleged the driver failed a drug test after transporting students to school. At the completion of the investigation and after consulting with the city of Sidney prosecutor, charges were filed.
Sidney City Schools had received complaints on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, of erratic driving by one of its bus drivers. Upon observation of reasonable suspicion by Transportation Coordinator Joni Renner, Brown was immediately taken to Wilson Health for drug/alcohol testing and was suspended from driving any routes until the district received the drug/alcohol test results.
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, Sidney City Schools received the results and learned Brown was driving under the influence that morning. Brown will no longer drive a school bus for Sidney City Schools. Her positive drug/alcohol test results will be logged in the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and she will no longer be able to hold a bus driver endorsement.
“This is an unusual case. I have never seen a case like this in my 24 years (in law enforcement),” Jameson said. “I’m just glad there were no injuries; no one got hurt. And that it will no longer be a problem going forward, apparently (upon Brown being fired).”
The district’s policy for drivers is as follows:
• Drivers are subject to random drug/alcohol testing three times a year.
• Drivers are also subject to immediate drug/alcohol testing should there be reasonable suspicion.
• If a driver is involved in an accident – involving another vehicle or not – no matter who is at fault for the accident, he/she is required to do a drug/alcohol test.
• If a driver should refuse to do a drug/alcohol test at any point when asked or required, their refusal is considered a positive result, is logged in FMCSA, and results in their termination.
“The safety of our students and the safety of others on the road is paramount to Sidney City Schools, and something we take seriously,” said Humble in a letter sent to parents of students who ride this bus. “We want to be as transparent with parents as possible in all situations regarding their children.”
Brown is scheduled to appear in the Sidney Municipal Court on Monday, Oct. 26.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.