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School Bus Driver Pleads Guilty To Driving Drunk With Students On Board

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J., (CBS) --  A Shamong woman pleaded guilty to operating a school bus with Westampton Township students on board while she was impaired by alcohol in November 2011, Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi announced Monday.

Carole A. Crockett, 48, entered guilty pleas to Driving Under the Influence and Endangering the Welfare of a Child Monday in Superior Court.

The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office says Crockett admitted she was impaired from consuming alcohol on November 8, 2011 while transporting 25 students to their homes from Westampton Middle School at the end of the school day (see related story).

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the investigation revealed that during the trip home on that day several students called their parents and expressed fear at the way Crockett was driving. Parents then called school officials and said the students on the bus indicated Crockett almost struck a parked car as well as a jogger, and that she had allegedly vomited into her handbag.

The Prosecutor's Office says some of the students who were assigned to Crockett's bus were stranded at school because she left before they all boarded. The Prosecutor's Office also says some students on board were so frightened that they departed the bus early at stops that were not near their residences.

School officials called police, who caught up with Crockett at Holly Hills Elementary School, where she had gone to pick up another load of students to transport home.

The Prosecutor's Office says Crockett's blood alcohol level was .25 percent at the time of her arrest.

In New Jersey, .08 is considered legally drunk.

Crockett was employed at the time by a private transportation company that was paid by the district to transport students.

The investigation was conducted by the Westampton Police Department.

Sentencing is set for January 17, 2014. Under terms of the plea agreement, Crockett will receive three years in New Jersey State Prison.

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