School bus driver accused of DUI while on duty
From Staff Reports September 13, 2013 4:40PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:44AM
WHEATON — An elementary-school bus driver from South Elgin was charged Friday with driving under the influence while on duty in West Chicago, DuPage County authorities said.
Jill Beebe, 42, of the 600 block of Sunbury Road, appeared in bond court that afternoon, where Judge Terence Sheen set her bail at $100,000 on a charge of aggravated DUI.
According to court documents, Beebe is employed by the Illinois Central School Bus Co., based on Randall Road in St. Charles, and she was picking up children on behalf of West Chicago-based Elementary School District 33. All the children involved were age kindergarten through fifth grade.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a release issued Friday that after picking up her bus in St. Charles Friday morning, Beebe began her work day picking up and dropping off elementary school children along her route in West Chicago.
While dropping off students at Pioneer Elementary School in West Chicago, Berlin said, an employee of the school went to Beebe’s bus to discuss an unrelated matter and thought she smelled alcohol on Beebe as they spoke.
The worker told the school principal, who then notified the bus company, and a company official advised Beebe to stop operating the bus. At the next stop, the West Chicago Police Department met Beebe and, after administering field sobriety tests, took her into custody, Berlin said in the release.
It was unclear whether Beebe also agreed to take a test of her blood-alcohol content, and if so what the results were.
“The mere allegation that a school bus driver responsible for the lives of dozens of young children would even consider getting behind the wheel of a bus after they had been drinking is unconscionable,” Berlin said in the release.
“I would like to thank authorities at the school for reporting what they saw, the bus company for their cooperation and the West Chicago Police Department for their quick response to the situation. Because of their actions, perhaps a heartbreaking crisis has been averted. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Therieau for her efforts on this case.”
Beebe could face up to three years in prison if convicted of the Class 4 felony charge.