Gates Chili school bus driver arrested after allegedly driving drunk with students

Updated: October 17, 2020 07:16 AM
Created: October 16, 2020 02:32 PM

GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Gates Chili School District announced Friday that a school bus driver was arrested for DWI and charged with multiple criminal counts after allegedly driving drunk with six students on board. 

The driver, Lashonda Griffin, is facing several charges, including reckless driving, a BAC over .08, six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, four counts of Leandra Law DWI, and one count of common law DWI. 


The Gates Chili School District says after reports of unusual activity and an unauthorized stop, the district started investigating and contacted the Gates Police Department. It was then confirmed by police that the bus driver is alleged to have operated a school bus with children on board with a blood alcohol content higher than the New York State legal limit. She was released on appearance tickets. 

Police went into more detail on the incident, saying that Griffin was found asleep in her bus after she made her morning run. Although initially it was believed she was having a medical emergency, once police spoke to her it was discovered that she was drunk.

It was also discovered that Griffin is alleged to have picked up two kids earlier before she made a stop at a McDonald's and got food and coffee before she went and picked up four additional kids. She ended up dropping all six off at Northstar Christian Academy. 

Despite her alleged drunkeness, police say they were not called about any reckless driving. 

"There was nothing alarming that would've like jostled the kids in their seats where they would be thinking, 'oh my god my driver is driving bad' or anything," said Lt. Robert Long of the Gates Police Department. "There's nothing that we noticed."

On Friday, the district released the following statement:

"The safety of students and employees is the district’s top priority, and we are very grateful that no one was harmed as a result of this individual’s actions. The families of the students who were on the bus have already been notified. As a result, if you have not been notified, then it was not your child’s bus or bus driver involved in this situation. We are very sorry that these students and families in this community have been impacted by the unfathomable actions of one person. Please remember this was an act of one employee. The district is proud of its bus drivers and their safety record of transporting thousands of students each day without incident. Out of an abundance of caution, the district is taking time to review safety protocols with all drivers. School district officials want to thank the Gates Police Department and its officers for their swift action in apprehending this individual."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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