Bus Driver Charged With DUI Due in Court

A school bus driver accused of driving under the influence as she transported several students and hit a wheelchair van in Manchester is due in court on Monday.

Police said a driver called authorities to report seeing a bus being driven erratically on West Middle Turnpike near exit 60 on the afternoon of Sept. 17

Police checked the area and did not find anything at first, then responded to a crash involving a school bus around The Bennett Academy on Main Street.

Melissa Forrest, 36, of Andover, was driving the school bus and had rear-ended a wheelchair van as it was at a red light at Main and Forrest streets, according to police.

Police said Forrest appeared to be heavily intoxicated, but alcohol did not seem to be a factor. Results of any additional tests done could be released in court today.

Bolton school officials said five students from Rockville High School Agricultural Education and Cheney Technical High School were onboard when it happened.

Police said they don’t know why Forrest was driving on Main Street in Manchester at the time of the accident.

None of the students reported any injuries in the crash and none of the three people in the wheelchair van were injured.

The bus was able to transport studens home, but some parents picked their children up at the scene, police said. 

Forrest failed field sobriety tests, police said, and was charged with driving under the influence and following too close.

She was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond and will be in court date in Manchester on Sept. 30.

While the crash happened, the Bolton Superintendent’s office was not notified until Wednesday morning that the driver had been arrested at the scene, a statement from the superintendent states.

"Our top priority is student safety.  We are working closely with our transportation vendor, First Student, to ensure nothing like this happens again," Supt. Kristin Heckt said in a statement.  

Vernon schools also issued a statement saying that they are working closely with Supt. Heckt to ensure that this never happens again.

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