School bus driver in crash that injured students gets plea deal

9NEWS @ 9. 9/16.2016

KUSA - A driver who flipped her St. Vrain school bus last December, injuring several students, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of careless driving in a deal that saw numerous other charges dismissed.

Elizabeth Burris, 40, had faced 13 separate charges in the incident amid allegations that she was under the influence of multiple prescription drugs – something her attorney disputed in recent court hearings.

Judge Ingrid Bakke scheduled sentencing for Oct. 4.

Burris is expected to face a $300 fine, 12 months of unsupervised probation and community service.

The plea meant the dismissal of four counts of vehicular assault, eight counts of child abuse, and a charge of driving while under the influence.

Burris was reported to be driving erratically before the crash last Dec. 7, according to court documents.

Her bus, with eight students on board, went off the road, veered back across the highway and slammed into a mountainside before rolling onto its side.

RELATED: 9Wants to Know investigates school bus crashes

Two of the students suffered what were described as serious injuries while three others were less seriously hurt.

Burris had initially been scheduled to go to trial later this month, but that was postponed after a hearing in August in which her attorney raised questions about the investigation of the crash. Burris, Schielke said, suffers from fibromyalgia, which can cause chronic pain, and was taking medications prescribed by a doctor.

At the hearing, a doctor and a nurse who treated Burris at a hospital said they did not notice signs that she was impaired – and a state trooper testified that sheriff’s deputies who responded to the crash also did not report observing things that made them think she was under the influence of drugs.

It was after that hearing that prosecutors and Burris’ attorney began working on the plea deal she agreed to Wednesday.

Burris lost her job with the St. Vrain Valley School District after the crash.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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