Police: Speeding school bus driver had teens, marijuana on board
NAUGATUCK - A school bus driver, who police say was driving recklessly and running stop lights Thursday, was also charged with possession of marijuana.
Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a report of a school bus driving recklessly by running stop signs and speeding. The caller advised that they observed the bus parked at Breen field in Naugatuck and observed what looked like two juveniles fighting on the bus.
The caller stated that as they approached the bus it sped away. The caller followed the bus and called police and officers located the bus a short time later and stopped it on Spring Street.
“Upon stopping the bus officers came in contact with the bus operator and two juveniles seated in the vehicle,” police said in a release.
The driver was identified as Grace Mcphail, 48, of Aetna Street in Naugatuck.
Mcphail, employee of First Student Bus Services of Middlebury, told police she was off duty, but driving the bus with permission of her employer.
She also told police that she was scared because a car was following her and admitted to driving fast and running stop signs.
“During the investigation officers detected a strong odor of marijuana within the bus and discovered that the driver was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia,” police said. “When asked about the odor of marijuana inside the vehicle the accused stated that the two juveniles had been smoking marijuana, but claimed she had not.”
Investigating officers contacted First Student Bus Services that confirmed Mcphail’s employmentand confirmed that she is a driver that has permission to drive the bus to and from work only. but not for personal use.
The two juveniles involved were teenagers under the age of 18. Both were determined to not be students in transport, but rather acquaintances of the accused, one of which is related to Mcphail.
It was further determined through the investigation that the accused was at Breen Field in Naugatuck with the bus and juveniles during a time that the park is closed.
Based on information obtained during the investigation, she was charged with sale of controlled substance, risk of injury to a child, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree criminal trespass and reckless driving.