Grand jury to consider charges against Loudon bus driver
LENOIR CITY - A former Loudon County school bus driver had DUI and child endangerment charges bound over to a grand jury following a preliminary hearing Wednesday in the Loudon County Justice Center.
Vicky Lynn Kwasny, 48, was arrested Sept. 30, 2008, after she was found slumped over the wheel of her bus, parked in a church parking lot off Steekee Street in Loudon.
Arresting Loudon Police Officer Dewayne Williams in his report stated Kwasny had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and was unable to tell him the date and day.
Kwasny's attorney has disputed the charges, saying blood and breathalyzer tests released by TBI show Kwasny was not under the influence.
Some of the approximately 30 children on the bus reported Kwasny had gone off the roadway several times before stopping, according to Williams' report. A 14-year-old girl testified Wednesday she had to help Kwasny open the bus door. Gordon Harless, head of the Loudon County Emergency Management Agency, testified that Kwansy responded to his questions in a "lethargic manner," Loudon County District Attorney General Russell Johnson said.
Blood tests showed Kwasny had tested positive for muscle relaxers and painkillers, Johnson said. Williams in his report stated Kwasny told him she was taking the prescription muscle relaxant Soma.
Fox said Kwasny had delivered one busload of children that same morning without incident, began to feel ill and pulled over.
Kwasny, now a resident of the Atlanta area, remains free on bond. A Loudon County grand jury is to consider her case when it convenes April 13-14.
Case against former Loudon Co. school bus
driver going to grand jury
By ANN KEIL
6 News Reporter
LOUDON (WATE) -- The case against a former Loudon County school bus driver charged with DUI is headed to a grand jury.
Vickie Lynn Kwasny pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday. She remains free on bond.
On September 30, 2008, Kwasny was found passed out in bus number 9 while it was parked on Steekee Street.
The first person to testify in court Wednesday was a freshman high school student who was on the bus the day Kwasny was charged. The student's identity isn't being released because she's a minor.
"She was driving slowly and she didn't pick up the kids, like she would pass them," the student testified.
As the assistant district attorney continued to question the student, she said she feared for her life that day.
"How was she talking to you?" the ADA asked. "She was mumbling," the student said. "Okay, What about her driving? How was she driving, if you noticed?" the ADA asked. "She was just swerving into the other lane," the student said.
The Loudon County emergency management director said he initially thought Kwasny had low plug sugar. However, she admitted to taking soma, a muscle relaxer she was prescribed.
"She was unable to advise us what date it actually was and the date she was also unable to tell us who the president of the United States was," said Officer Mike Newman.
Still, Kwasny's attorney, Gary Fox, argued, "There was no proof whatsoever that there was anything in her system to cause her to act this way. She just acted that way."
Finally, the judge said it's clear Kwasny was under the influence of something and bound the case over. The grand jury will meet on April 13 and 14.
School bus drivers are only drug tested for alcohol and drugs upon getting their commercial drivers license and then randomly. They're screened for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP.
They also have to get a medical certificate from a doctor saying they're physically qualified as often as every 90 days, but it's generally done every two years.