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Mt. Prospect ex-school bus driver pleads guilty to DUI

A former Mount Prospect school bus driver admitted in court today that she was drunk when she dropped off a busload of students last spring.

Betty Burden, of Mount Prospect, pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of aggravated DUI. She had maintained her innocence since she was arrested on March 9 after police said her blood-alcohol content was 0.226 – nearly three times the legal limit for motorists, though school bus drivers cannot drive legally with any alcohol in their systems.

Burden’s attorney entered the plea blindly, meaning no deal has been struck with prosecutors on her sentence, which is to be handed down on Jan. 26.

Burden was fired from Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 shortly after her arrest, which was cited as one reason the district later privatized and outsourced its entire school busing operation. Her supervisor also lost his job after officials said he had checked on Burden’s condition but allowed her to keep driving the bus after another employee has reported suspicion that Burden had been drinking.

The supervisor did contact police, but Burden was not arrested until after dropping on a busload of students from Lions Park Elementary School.

The defense suffered a setback in October when the judge in the case, John Scotillo, ruled against a motion to throw out Burden’s arrest.

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