Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DUI / Rx Meds / Prescription Drugs / School Bus / Impaired School Bus Driver / Elementary School Field Trip / E-Ride / Driving Under the Influence / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **305DUI

39 y/ o Lycia Martinez has been a Davis, Utah School District school bus driver for 6 years, and while she's not a "boozer" apparently she's had a significant Rx drug problem, prompting several unsuccessful stints at rehab but managing to remain below her employer's, and the law's, radar, until yesterday (Monday, 10/13/14), when 75 people were on Lycia's school bus (67 students and 8 adults, including teachers and one school administrator, from 4 elementary schools) tooling along on a field trip to a student council conference at Brigham Young University.

Just before 8 a.m. folks, inside and outside of the bus, started calling 911 because of Lycia's driving. Among the calls:

"I don't get scared very easy, but my heart is pounding," a woman who saw the bus told a 911 dispatcher. "I am honestly shaking at this point."

"Whoever is driving this thing can't maintain a lane," the first man who called 911 told a dispatcher.

The passenger who initially dialed 911 said: "We are concerned with our bus driver. Can an officer follow behind her for awhile and see if he agrees with her driving? She can't stay in a lane, she's crossing the double line and the adults are getting scared. "We have a long ways to go with this lady and we are not feeling secure."

This passenger stayed on the line until troopers pulled the bus driver over. Several times during the 10-minute phone call, the woman made comments such as, "It is freaking scary, and we've got 76 people on this bus," "We're nervous," "She's freaking us out," and "I feel like I'm on a stupid Lagoon ride." At one point the woman got excited and said, "She almost hit this man next to us. … She just gets so darn close to these cars ... I'm going to just close my eyes so I see nothing."

Per the trooper who pulled Martinez over and arrested her: "The vehicle kept drifting back and forth, almost hit a couple of cars, seemed very erratic. She was able to follow the conversation OK, was a little slow, was very unsteady, swayed a lot. She couldn't really explain why we would have this many people call, complaining about her driving. She tried saying she was using the radio, but that didn't add up to the miles upon miles that we kept getting calls about it."

According to police, the driver was believed to have been under the influence of Rx prescription drugs for anxiety and pain, which did not come as a surprise to her family. Per her (the driver's) mother-in-law, Louella Craig: “Her husband begged her this morning if she didn’t feel good to stay home, and she went anyway.” Louella Craig claimed that her daughter-in-law had taken medication for a sinus infection, but that that was just one of many prescription drugs that her daughter-in-law has been abusing for years. She needs help, and she needs help now,” Craig said. “They take her to rehab and they just put her out in a week.”

In her six years working for the Davis School District, Martinez has never had any issues, according to district spokesman Chris Williams. “If there wasn’t a clean record, then she wouldn’t be driving for us,” Williams said. All drivers in the Davis School District get a drug screening before they’re hired, according to Williams, and they’re subject to at least one random testing a year. If a driver is taking prescription drugs, District policy requires they report it to their supervisor.

Martinez is facing charges for a class A misdemeanor count of DUI, as well as failing to operate within one lane, and she has been put on paid administrative leave by the school district pending her criminal case.

When I was a kid we called this an "E-ride", but the fact is that little is scarier than a banged-up bus driver (booze, pills, a combo, whatever) with a full compliment of kids.  

In Florida you can be charged with DUI due to Rx meds, or any controlled substance.  The State will be forced to prove that your "normal faculties were impaired" due to the controlled substance, and they can (and do) meet this burden through a variety of means.  In this case I don't know if Lycia Martinez made any statements, but I know that he mother-in-law's statements will be compelled by the government and used against her, as well as the 911 calls and the officer's observations.  

Further, in FL, and certainly in Miami-Dade County, apart from DUI Lycia would likely also face 67 counts of "child endangerment".

Whether you drive a school bus or just yourself its a good idea to READ - AND HONOR - the labels on your Rx meds.  Don't drive if you are not 100% capable, most especially if you are going to drive 75 folks, 89% of which are 6th grade kids, in a school bus.

Although it clearly could have been worse, this remains a "School Bus Driver FAIL!" (just not an "epic" one).

When it comes to the subject of drinking and driving, the best advice that you are ever going to hear is:  "Don't do it!  Get a DD (Designated Driver), not a DUI".

Be smart{er than Lycia Martinez}: Don't drink and drive, but, if you do, just say "NO{thing}", don't blow (in FL your 2nd subsequent refusal is a crime) and call me stat at 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

Michael A. Haber, P.A.: Providing creative criminal defense litigation services primarily in SoFlo since 1991.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"! 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

1-888-SHARK-8-1, 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

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