Letter: Medical emergency not drugs, caused bus-driver impairment

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-14 17:07:39-04

Norfolk, Va. - A school bus driver transporting Norfolk Academy students was suffering from a sudden medical condition that mimics a stroke, and was not under the influence of drugs, according to a letter from the school's headmaster.

Virginia Beach police in June charged Dorothy Youngs with driving under the influence of drugs after someone reported her school bus was weaving on Shore Drive. A witness used a cell phone to record police giving Youngs a field-sobriety test. Youngs works for a private company called Transquest, and was transporting Norfolk Academy students who were part of a summer program. Last week, prosecutors dropped the charge, saying only that Youngs had suffered a medical problem.

The letter from Norfolk Academy Headmaster Dennis G. Manning sent to parents this week reveals Youngs was suffering from "transient ischemic attacks, sometimes referred to as 'TIAs' or 'mini strokes.' "

Online medical references show the condition temporarily blocks or reduces blood flow to portions of the brain, but usually does not result in long-term injury. Manning wrote that Youngs spent two weeks in the hospital and endured therapy after. He also wrote that her hospital blood tests "showed no signs of alcohol or narcotics."

At her apartment in Norfolk Friday, Youngs told NewsChannel 3 she wanted to tell her story and clear her name. However, she said she wanted more time to decide if she wanted to do that on camera.

Manning, the headmaster, told parents Youngs had driven both public and private school buses for several years. He said he wanted to tell parents the full story of what happened to reassure them, and "so that this driver's reputation can be restored in the public eye."