Updated: 08/29/2013 6:59 PM
Created: 08/28/2013 10:30 PM WHEC.com
A bus driver is accused of putting more than a dozen school children in jeopardy.
Amini Kellum had a clean driving record until she was officially charged Thursday with Leandra's law DWI. That means police think she was intoxicated when she was driving children on her school bus.
At first, Amini Kellum ran from our cameras. But a few moments later, she was back, admitting that she drank the night before her arrest, but denying she was drunk.
Kellum said, “I told them I had two beers the night before. I started at 8:00p.m. and got done with them at about 11:00p.m.”
News10NBC's Berkeley Brean said, “So you say you were not drunk when you were driving that school bus?”
Kellum said, “Yes.”
Brean said, “One of the tests says your blood alcohol level was 0.09.”
Kellum said, “Yes, that was probably still in my system. But I didn't feel like I was drunk.”
Kellum was driving a regular size bus for First Student. Court papers show she was scheduled to carry 16 students to a private school in Brighton and drop them off at 8:00a.m. The papers show at 8:30a.m, her bus got stuck next to a gas tank at this Gulf station on Mount Read. The court papers show a First Student employee who came to the scene says they "could smell alcohol on Kellum's breath."
The police officer said he "could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Kellum." But in a statement to police, the operations manager for First Student said she talked to Kellum at 6:00a.m. She was only “three to four feet away" from her and "could not smell any odor of alcohol." Kellum is charged with a felony because police say there were children on he bus. Kellum says that's not true.
Kellum said, “There were no children on the bus. Ok?”
Brean said, “There was earlier in the day though.”
Kellum said, “Earlier in the day?”
Brean said, “I mean at 8:00a.m. you had 16 kids on the bus right?”
Kellum said, “No, how do you know that? No, I didn't.”
Brean said, “So there were no children on the bus at any time?”
Kellum said, “No, there surely enough wasn't. I was going to a refresher course.”
Reporter said, “You didn't drop kids off at Hillside on Winton?”
Kellum said, “Nope. Nope.”
The Brighton School District says there were children on the bus.
First Student released a statement saying Kellum passed all their pre-employment tests and had a clean driving record. They say she's been “pulled off the road pending termination”. Kellum doesn't have any prior convictions. She was released without any bail.