Franklin Co. Schools Board of Education votes to fire bus driver arrested for driving under the influence

Franklin Co. Schools Board of Education votes to fire bus driver arrested for driving under the influence
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:43 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 3:19 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN Co., Ala. (WAFF) - A Franklin County Schools bus driver was arrested the morning of Sept. 16 on 40 counts of reckless endangerment after investigators say she was driving under the influence while taking 40 students to school.

Now, 10 days later, the Franklin County Schools Superintendent sent a notice to members of the Franklin County Board of Education recommending that the driver be fired.

The Franklin County School Board voted to fire the bus driver on Monday.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said deputies received a call about a school bus driver, driving erratically. Before deputies arrived, a concerned motorist pulled in front of the bus to force it to stop, driven by 58-year-old Rhonda Barksdale, according to Oliver. Sheriff Oliver said the concerned motorist boarded the bus thinking Barksdale was having a medical emergency but discovered something else was wrong.

Investigators gave Barksdale a field sobriety test, which Sheriff Oliver said she failed.

Barksdale was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and 40 counts of reckless endangerment, one count for each of the students on board the bus.

Oliver said they are awaiting blood test results on Barksdale.

Sheriff Oliver said the students were on their way to Tharptown School. None of the students were injured.

Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton issued the following statement concerning the arrest:

I am very thankful that no student or person was injured today. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation and privacy rights, I will not be able to make any further comments.

On Sept. 21, Barksdale pleaded not guilty and requested a trial.