Officials are blaming a recent Park Ridge school bus accident on an elderly bus driver’s medical condition. The Chicago Tribune reports that a 77-year-old Wheeling woman was driving the 71-passenger bus on Oakton Street Tuesday afternoon when she lost control and left a trail of destruction over a mile long. The incident sent the bus driver and four others to the hospital.
The bus driver was on her way to pick up students from a nearby high school when she experienced an unspecified medical event.
“It certainly is scary knowing had it been 15 minutes (or) a half-hour later, there could have been children involved,” said David Bein, executive director of business services for East Maine School District 63.
There are no state laws banning elderly drivers from operating school buses. School officials noted that the bus driver had been working for 15 years with an excellent record. It is unclear how evidence of her medical condition will impact her citations for disobeying a traffic signal and driving too fast for conditions. If convicted, the woman’s school bus license could be taken away for three years.
This is one of several Chicago area bus accidents to occur in recent months. Earlier in January, a CTA bus crashed into several parked cars on the 3400 block of West Montrose Avenue. Police say that the bus driver was attacked and beaten by a 30-year-old passenger.