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Could school have prevented car crash?

Macedon, N.Y. The Wayne Central School District is under scrutiny after a bus driver was allegedly caught under the influence. Instead of calling police, the woman was taken home just a few hours before police said the woman caused a serious car accident on Route 350 Wednesday evening.

Julynn Criscuolo, 45, was arrested on charges of vehicular assault and DWI for that crash but the State Police is now investigating allegations that she drove a school bus, with children on board, drunk.

Theyre supposed to be safe and they got to know they have children on board, they got lives in their hands, Robert Healy said. 

The grandfather of three children in elementary school, Hayflinger said hes shocked to hear that a school bus driver was allegedly drunk but hes furious to find out that the school district did not call police immediately.

Thats terrible, they should have done something about that knowing that the driving was drunk, Hayflinger said. Its ridiculous. 

When Criscuolo returned from her afternoon school drop-offs, police said, a supervisor suspected she was under the influence.

Operating a school bus intoxicated? Thats a pretty serious matter, said Wayne County District Attorney Richard Healy. You dont handle these things in-house, not something like that.

District employees took Criscuolo to a testing facility where sources said Criscuolo blew a .172 on a breathalyzer test and admitted to taking prescription painkillers.

I just cant believe that a school district would allow this to happen, especially with kids involved, Hayflinger said. They should have called the police.

Without notifying police, two coworkers drove Criscuolo home. Three hours later, police said Criscuolo was back on the road. Shortly before 6:30 p.m, police said Criscuolo crossed the center line and hit a passing car head-on.

The open container in the vehicle and the strong odor of alcoholic beverage on the drivers breath was the first sign that we needed to handle this as an alcohol related crash, said Macedon Police Chief John Colella.

The driver of the other car, Candace Aldrich, 64, of Farmington, suffered serious injuries, including a broken leg and a partially-detached foot. Aldrich was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital where she is now listed in stable condition.

Many people we spoke with argue this crash could have been avoided had the school district called police that afternoon.  Had law enforcement been notified, this terrible tragedy of the head on collision might not have occurred and I think thats the most disturbing aspect of this, said Healy.

According to a written statement, Superintendent Renee Garrett told the Times of Wayne County that administrators followed district policy and Criscuolo has since been removed from all safety sensitive functions.

The school district contacted the police the morning after the crash. If had be reported the day prior law enforcement would have definitely been involved and handled it accordingly, said Chief Colella.

Many people questioned why the report was delayed. They were trying to cover it up, you know, cover their own, said Hayflinger.

The district attorney is pursuing charges in the allegation that Criscuolo drove a school bus drunk but because police were not called in right way, Healy said investigators are working at a slight disadvantage.

If charged, Criscuolo could face a felony charge for every child that was on her bus Wednesday afternoon. 

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Washington Times