Police in Manchester arrested a school bus driver after a crash when officers said she failed a field sobriety test.
Melissa Forrest, 36, of Andover, was arrested and charged with DUI and following too close when the crash was reported on Main Street on Tuesday afternoon.
An initial report of the incident was made after getting calls about seeing a school bus driving erratically in the area of exit 60 on West Middle Turnpike. Police said the officers checked the area but didn't find the school bus.
A short time later police said they were called to the Bennett Academy on Main Street for a crash involving a school bus.
Witnesses said the bus rear-ended a wheel chair van at a red light at the intersection of Main Street and Forest Street.
"It's just unbelievable that this person was driving a bus," said Forest Package Store Owner Richard Husbands, who saw the crash and thought it was minor.
There were three people inside the wheel chair van at the time of the crash, and students from Rockville High School's Vocational Agriculture program and Cheney Tech on the school bus were not injured.
There was also minor damage to the school bus, officials said.
After leaving Rockville High School, the bus stopped at Cheney Tech in Manchester and was headed to take those kids home to Bolton
Police said all of the students were Bolton residents.
Police said after the crash Forrest was given a field sobriety test and failed.
Forrest was released on $5,000 bond and was given a court date of Sept. 30.
First Student, the company that employs Forrest, said she has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.
First Student officials said before being hired, each driver is subject to drug and alcohol screenings as well as a background check, which includes driving, employment and criminal history.
They said Forrest passed all pre-employment screenings.
Now, two school districts are trying to figure out how it happened. School officials said Bolton is in charge of transportation with these students.
Following the arrest, Bolton Superintendent Kristin B. Heckt, and Vernon Superintendent Mary Conway released statements.
"We are working closely with our transportation vendor, First Student, to ensure nothing like this happens again," said Heckt.
"We are working closely with Superintendent Heckt of the Bolton Public Schools to investigate this further. We want to ensure that this never happens again," said Conway.
Forrest didn't answer the door when Eyewitness News went to her home in Andover Wednesday. However, based on the playground set up in her yard, it appears she may have children of her own.
Parents said they're glad Forrest was caught before anyone was hurt.
"I think they need to prosecute this person because this person did put a lot of kids lives in danger," said parent Paula Plant.
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