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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Buses

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Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 19, 2008

Remember the Huntley school district bus driver who allegedly jammed on the brakes on April 30, when the kids on the bus were being unruly? As one story goes, she jammed on the brakes to teach them a lesson. Several were apparently pitched out of their seats.

The bus driver was charged with 38 (THIRTY-EIGHT!!!) misdemeanors; two for each of the 19 reportedly-injured students. The charges? Reckless Conduct and Endangering the Life or Health of a Child.

This is the dumbest thing of which I've heard in a long time. Why in the world would the police department (Huntley PD?) issue on 38 charges? Obviously, they are intending to "make a statement." Thirty-eight charges - - that leaves a lot of room for plea-bargaining, doesn't it?

If I were the judge, I'd admonish the police chief, the officer(s) and the Village Attorney for this tomfoolery. If they think they've got a case, they could make it without this kind of nonsense.

Today's Daily Herald article reports that the incident occurred in the parking lot of Leggee Elementary School in District 158. The first thought I had was, is there a Vehicular Control Contract between the School District 158 and the law enforcement jurisdiction there (Huntley PD?). And is it tight enough to hold? But then I re-read the article and realized they didn't charge her with traffic violations. These charges are much more serious.

The bus driver, who has been fired, has asked for a jury trial. The next court date, for a pre-trial status hearing, is July 17. Should be interesting to watch all the legal maneuvering that is sure to follow.

Will her attorney ask for separate trials in each of the 19 individual students and bankrupt D158 with legal fees?

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