Police said they stopped a school bus driver after receiving a report she was driving recklessly and running stop signs in Naugatuck with teens on the bus and they found her with marijuana.
Police said they received a call just after 6 p.m. Thursday from someone who reported seeing two juveniles fighting on a bus that was parked at Breen Field Park, so the caller approached the bus, but the driver sped away.
The caller then followed the bus and police were able to stop it on Spring Street, police said.
In the bus, police found the bus driver, 48-year-old Grace McPhail, of Naugatuck, and two teens under the age of 18.
As they investigated, police said they realized that neither of the teens were students who McPhail was responsible for transporting. One was a relative and the other was an acquaintance, according to police, and the three had been at Breen Field when the park was closed.
McPhail told them she was off duty but was driving the bus with permission of her employer, First Student, and claimed she was driving fast and running stop signs because a car was following her and she was scared, according to a news release from police.
Then, police smelled marijuana and they said McPhail was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
She told police that she had not been smoking marijuana, but the kids had been smoking it.
Officers contacted First Student, which confirmed she is a driver and has permission to drive the bus to and from work only but not for personal use, police said.
An official from First Student told NBC Connecticut that they have begun the process to fire McPhail
“We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our driver. Behavior such as this is completely unacceptable and totally at odds with what we stand for as a company. We have initiated the termination process,” First Student said in a statement.
Police arrested McPhail and charged her with sale of controlled substance, risk of injury to a child, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree criminal trespass and reckless driving.
Bond was set at $5,000. Mcphail is due in court today.