WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Public School District will be beefing up its drug and alcohol testing requirements for school bus drivers in the wake of a recent crash that took place in its neighbor school district of Newark, according to Superintendent Eveny de Mendez.
The Newark crash – which didn’t involve West Orange employees or vehicles – took place on Feb. 20 when a driver had an apparent medical episode while behind the wheel of a school bus. The vehicle was carrying a dozen children with special needs at the time, authorities said.
After the crash, emergency responders treated the driver with Narcan, a drug commonly used to reverse opiate overdoses. She was later arrested, police said.
Some people – including the owner of the bus company – have since questioned police allegations that the driver was on drugs at the time of the crash, instead suggesting that a medical issue related to diabetes may have rendered her unconscious.
During the Feb. 25 meeting of the West Orange Board of Education, Superintendent de Mendez brought up the Newark crash, saying that while it didn’t involve West Orange students, drivers or vehicles, the district can still learn from the incident.