Salem-Keizer school bus driver accused of driving drunk with 15 students on board

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:27 AM PDT
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - A school bus driver for Salem-Keizer Public Schools was arrested for driving under the influence while transporting students, according to the Salem Police Department.

Katy Anne Fowler, 42, was arrested Thursday for 15 counts of reckless endangering, DUII, reckless driving, and criminal mischief.

Police said the investigation began after the department received reports that Fowler was under the influence of alcohol while driving students on Aug. 9. Fowler was reportedly driving 15 students on two separate bus routes between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on that day, taking students to and from summer programs.

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According to police, Fowler was driving the bus between the two transports and struck a guard rail. No kids were on board at the time of the crash. Reports say she took a breathalyzer test at about 11 a.m. and showed an alcohol level of .063%.

Michael Thomas, a district parent, said he’s concerned with how the school handles its interview process for bus drivers.

“It’s very dangerous,” Thomas said. “How are they making sure that our kids are actually safe when they’re being transported to and from school.”

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The school district said Fowler passed a criminal finger print background check with the Oregon Department of Education, but according to court records, she has previous convictions in California for driving with a suspended license, refusal to take a blood alcohol test, public intoxication and allowing an unlicensed minor to drive.

“We all do make mistakes,” Thomas said. “But I feel like if there is anything questionable, on your record - well multiple - then yeah no.”

The district said the safety of students are their top priority and that Fowler is currently on leave.

Any parents, students, or community members who may have witness Fowler driving the bus on Aug. 9 is asked to call the police department’s traffic team at 503-588-6171.