Former BC bus driver sentenced to five years in prison
A former Butler County school bus driver facing multiple charges from a DUI arrest in March of 2012 was sentenced today to five years in prison with no probation. Sandra Ford, 56, was arrested on March 9, 2012, as she was driving her afternoon route. In May of 2012, Ford was indicted on one count of operating a motor vehicle under influence of alcohol, (aggravated circumstances) and with 59 (fifty-nine) counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.
In court proceedings today - Tuesday, February 12 - Circuit Judge Ronnie Dortch sentenced Ford to five years in prison with no probation. She was immediately taken into custody by the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
Describing Ford's case as "difficult," Judge Dortch indicted that his concern is what kind of message this case would send to other people who get behind the wheel.
The office of the Commonwealth Attorney - represented in court today by Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Blake Beliles - went on record opposing probation because of the number of children potentially impacted by Ford's actions.
Ford was represented by Sam Lowe, an attorney appointed from the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.
Today's final sentencing comes after a January 8, 2013 plea agreement that garnered a guilty plea by Ford, credit for time served, various fines, a revoked license for 60 days, and a recommended five-year sentence without probation.
Since her arrest, Ford has completed an alcohol rehabilitation program at Andrea's Mission.
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Below is the original Sandra Ford story as posted in Beech Tree News.
An on-duty Butler County school bus driver was arrested on Friday afternoon and charged with DUI. Sandra Ford (Blair), 55, is charged with multiple counts following her arrest by Butler County Sheriff Scottie Ward.
According to Ward he received a call at approximately 3:45 p.m. that Ford was operating Butler County Schools bus #30 while intoxicated. The call came form a parent who learned of Ford’s alleged condition from their child, who was a passenger on the bus.
Ward said that he went to the Butler County Board of Education and met with Superintendent Scott Howard and Transportation Director Ken Reed about the call. The sheriff said it was necessary to involve the school system because he didn’t know the route of the bus, nor have any way to get in radio contact with the bus.
Within moments of hearing of the complaint Ward said Ken Reed contacted the bus by radio. Reed then left to go meet the bus along with Cindy McCoy. The Sheriff said that a second call reporting Ford to the school system was received while he was at the Board of Education office. Ward said that he later met Reed and Sandra Ford at the Butler County Education Complex where he administered two field sobriety tests. Ford failed both tests, and was then arrested and charged with DUI 1st (aggravated circumstances), and 40 counts of Wanton Endangerment in the First Degree.
The sheriff explained that the aggravated circumstances added to the DUI charge was because Ford’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .192. Aggravated circumstances can be added to a DUI charge if the offender’s BAC is .150 or higher. Under Kentucky law a person is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. The number of wanton endangerment charges is based upon the number of students traveling on the bus. The estimate of 40 was given to Ward by Transportation Director Ken Reed.
Cindy McCoy took over driving duties aboard bus #30 and finished the remainder of Ford’s route on Friday without incident.