District 220: Bus driver charged with DUI had 'no prior history' of issues

  • James Dolan

    James Dolan

Updated 2/21/2022 7:05 PM

Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials say a bus driver charged with felony drunken driving following a crash Thursday with middle school students aboard passed all required safety checks and had no history of troubling behavior.

"The district takes this situation very seriously, and the driver has been terminated by Barrington Transportation Company," District 220 spokeswoman Samantha Ptashkin said n a statement released Sunday afternoon. "The driver in this case had previously passed all requirements of the Illinois School Code and had no prior history that would affect the driver's ability to safely operate a school bus."


Lake County sheriff's officials said none of the children aboard the bus were injured when it collided with an SUV Thursday afternoon near Deer Park.

Sheriff's police arrested driver James Dolan, 61, of the 4000 block of Victoria Drive in Hoffman Estates on Sunday after he was released from a hospital, where he had been taken for observation after the crash.

Authorities said the crash happened when Dolan was attempting to turn left onto Cuba Road from northbound Ela Road in front of an oncoming Chevrolet Traverse about 4:20 p.m. Thursday. The 58-year-old Carpentersville man driving the SUV couldn't stop because of the snow-covered road and hit the school bus, sheriff's police said.

The bus was carrying students from Prairie Middle School, Ptashkin said.

Sheriff's deputies at the scene detected signs Dolan was under the influence, authorities said. Further investigation indicated Dolan was at nearly twice the legal threshold of alcohol for driving, according to the sheriff's office.

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Dolan is charged with aggravated driving under the influence and was ordered held on $100,000 bail. He remained in custody Monday at the Lake County jail.

Ptashkin said the district is continuing to work with sheriff's investigators.

She also noted the transportation company "implements all necessary training and monitoring required" by state regulators. That includes, curriculum and training, background checks, and random drug and alcohol testing.

• Daily Herald breaking news correspondent Zack Miller contributed to this report.

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