AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Leander Independent School District bus driver charged with driving while intoxicated with between 22 and 30 children on the bus may have been on up to nine medications according to Travis County deputies. An arrest warrant says 61-year-old Kathy Loraine Legrand admitted she took pain killers and anti-depressants and mixed them with alcohol the night before she was arrested.
“The students were screaming at Mrs. Kathy to slow down and we were all wailing and crying and yelling,” said Sasha Young, a fifth grader who was on the bus.
A huge tire track tears through a portion of the landscaping in front of Tara Brown’s Steiner Ranch home and across the street her stone mailbox has been destroyed. But she says the real damage is to the children, some as young as kindergartens and as old as fifth graders.
“They are shaken up,” she said. “I don’t know if they will get back on a bus and I do not blame them.”
Deputies say they received a call Thursday afternoon about a school bus being driven erratically and hitting trees and mailboxes. According to the arrest warrant, there were no children left on the bus by the time they arrived and Legrand said she completed her route along North Quinlan Park Road. The deputy administering the field sobriety test said she nearly fell down twice and showed six of the eight signs of intoxication.
Young said some students were able to get off the bus when they realized they were in danger. Deputies said an LISD representative told them children on the bus had been transferred to a different bus to get home after Legrand did not respond to radio dispatchers on the bus radio.
“(Legrand) said there was nothing to worry about and kept giggling and laughing,” said Young. “One girl said she was calling her mom so she can come get us.”
The medications Legrand said she uses according to the affidavit include Lisinopril, Hyrdrocodone, and Xanax.
A Leander ISD spokesperson said Legrand had been terminated, but declined to comment further due to the open criminal investigation. While LISD does hire their own bus drivers, a management company provides supervision and safety measures for the busing program.
Deputies say Legand claimed to have six years of experience as a bus driver. She is charged with DWI, a charge elevated to a felony due to children being onboard. A misdemeanor charge was also added for the damage done to the mailbox, trees, and other things which were destroyed along the roadway.