Bus driver's hearing set for Thursday
A Corning Union High School District bus driver facing 17 charges of felony child endangerment for reportedly driving under the influence of an illegal substance is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in Tehama County Superior Court on Thursday.
The charges stem from a California Highway Patrol investigation that began Aug. 29, when, Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said, Laura Lynn East, 50, of Corning, was driving under the influence while picking up students for school in the Rancho Tehama, Flournoy and Paskenta area, said
CHP Lt. Todd Garr said the illegal substance East was reportedly using was methamphetamine.
The Corning Union High School District board of trustees in March unanimously accepted a letter of resignation from East, who had been employed by the school district for nine years.
District Superintendent Bruce Cole said prior to East's resignation, she had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
East, who has pleaded not guilty to the felony child endangerment charges and a misdemeanor county of hit and run.
On Nov. 22, a judge released East on her own recognizance, with the order she surrender her driver's license and not drive under any circumstances, the D.A.'s Office reported.
Cohen said, according to a California Highway Patrol report, East backed into a sign, swerved the bus and narrowly missed a culvert, and continued swerving the bus while stopping at locations to pick up children for school.
The report said she nearly drove the bus off the road, and drove into a thick tree branch, which lodged itself into one of the vehicle's mirrors, Cohen said.
CHP Officer Phillip Mackintosh said his office was made aware of the incident the next day.
Cohen stated the children were very scared and shook up but no one was injured.
East could not be reached for comment.