Lisa Byrd, 57, was charged with 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, driving while impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was driving the bus with children on board from the 14th Avenue School in Newark, N.J., Wednesday when she crashed into a tree.
Byrd, who was allegedly “high on heroin and in the process of overdosing,” had to be revived with Narcan, an opioid overdose medication, ABC7 reported.
The special-needs students, who ranged in age from 5 to 13, were not injured in the incident.
The owner of F&A Transportation, who employed Byrd, told ABC7 she was not the driver but the aide who helped the children. The bus driver was late and Byrd decided “on her own” to drive. Byrd has been suspended from the company pending an investigation. The TV station noted Byrd’s “driver's license was revoked between the years of 1996 and 2006” but it was fully reinstated when she was hired by F&A.
Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose called the situation “irresponsible and heinous.”
"This [opioid] epidemic is costing innocent lives," Ambrose said. "I would like to see our legislators look at it better and give more serious penalties for people that do this"
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and the Associated Press contributed to this report.