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Aurora school bus driver accused of buying, drinking beer while picking up students

The bus company reviewed a video which appears to show Michelle Passley drinking from two beer cans in a brown paper bag while picking up the students during one of the morning routes.

Screenshot of video from the school bus shows driver Michelle Passley drinking beer Nov. 15, 2019, on her route in Aurora.
Screenshot of video from the school bus shows driver Michelle Passley drinking beer Nov. 15, 2019, on her route in Aurora.
Aurora police

A bus driver is accused of drinking beer while driving 32 elementary school students in west suburban Aurora.

Michelle Passley, 44, was arrested Monday and charged with two misdemeanor counts of endangering the life and health of a child, according to Aurora police.

On Nov. 15, a manager from First Student Bus Company reported to police an incident involving one of their drivers, police said. The manager told officers that a convenience store clerk called School District 131 after selling beer to a woman and watching her drive off in a school bus.

The bus company reviewed a video which appears to show Passley drinking from two beer cans in a brown paper bag while picking up the students during one of the morning routes, police said. The company fired Passley and contacted police after reviewing the video.

An investigation determined that Passley picked up the school bus around 6 a.m. and completed one route before stopping at a gas station in the 900 block of North Farnsworth Avenue and buying two cans of beer, police said. She got back on the bus and drove off.

Investigators also contacted the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to review Passley’s commercial driver’s license, police said.

A statement from First Student Bus Company said Passley’s actions were “completely unacceptable and at odds with what we stand for as a company.”

“We are incredibly disappointed by our former driver’s actions,” the statement said. “First Student has a zero-tolerance policy for employees whose actions may put others at risk.”

Passley was released on $100 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 27.

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