Franklin County bus driver accused of DWI while taking students to school

LOUISBURG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Police have charged a Franklin County school bus driver with DWI while driving students.

The school district said 63-year-old Barbara Thorne was carrying 40 students to Terrell Lane Middle School in Louisburg Thursday morning and was arrested after she completed her run.

No students were hurt.

Louisburg police said an assistant principal smelled alcohol on Thorne's breath while talking to her and contacted a school resource officer. The officer found there was probable cause that Thorne was under the influence of alcohol.

A breathalyzer test revealed a blood-alcohol level of .10. The legal limit in North Carolina is .08.

Police are investigating the incident, working to find out whether bus 196 was equipped with cameras or GPS that may help determine how far Thorne traveled with the students and the route she took.

"I have to give praise to the Franklin County School System," said Louisburg Police Chief Rick Lassiter. "They do not tolerate any misbehavior by a bus driver."

Bond was set at $1,000. Thorne was put on paid administrative leave pending further investigation by the school district.

"The safety and well-being of our students is Franklin County Schools' first priority and we will continue to strive for excellence in all facets of our community. School officials work tirelessly to ensure the continued safety of every student - incidents such as this do not represent the dedication and integrity of Franklin County Schools' faculty and staff. We are fortunate to report no students were injured as a result of this incident," said the district in a statement.

The district said Thorne has been an employee for 12 years.

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