People are urging New Jersey legislators to put more of a focus on the heroin epidemic that’s taking over much of the United States.
As NBC 4 reports, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose is asking for harsher penalties when it comes to drug use after a bus aide put 12 students’ lives in danger.
According to WABC, the driver, Lisa Byrd, 57, was transporting 12 students with special needs when she crashed the bus she was operating into a tree. Byrd allegedly is not a bus driver but rather an aide whose job is to simply help students with special needs onto the bus.
The Fourteenth Avenue Elementary School students were all between 5 and 13 years old. Thankfully, although the students were shaken up and transported to a local hospital for evaluation, they have all been released to their parents without any major injuries.
The video was caught on public surveillance cameras:
According to WABC, Byrd wasn’t supposed to be driving the bus that day. The bus aide reportedly took matters into her own hands when the driver who was assigned to the bus was running late.
When first responders arrived at the scene, paramedics needed to revive Bryd with Narcan after she reportedly overdosing on heroin.
According to a source, drug paraphernalia was found at the scene of the accident, and Byrd was discovered to be clutching a bag of heroin in her hand.
A witness told NBC 4 it looked like Byrd “couldn’t move, like she was having a heart attack or a stroke.”
After being taken to University Hospital for additional treatment, Byrd was charged with 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while impaired.
Ambrose said during a press conference:
“I know it is an epidemic, but it’s also a sickness. A person driving a bus, or a person driving, period, I would like to see our legislators look at it better and give more serious penalties to people that do this.”
Byrd reportedly has had her license suspended before from 1996 to 2006. However, the reason for the suspension was not immediately known.
Byrd also passed the drug test she was subjected to when she was first hired by the transportation company.
The investigation surrounding the crash remains ongoing.