Student jumps into action to stop alleged drunk school bus driver

Posted at 11:27 PM, May 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-13 23:27:09-04

Baldwin County, AL (WALA) — We’re learning more about a Baldwin County, Alabama, school bus driver arrested for DUI, while she was taking students home Friday. Vicki Patrick, 58, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless endangerment. She’s in the Baldwin County jail with no bond.

Quick thinking from a 16-year-old on that bus helped keep everyone safe.

“She was swerving on the road and she was going really fast and then she was going really slow,” Robertsdale High School sophomore Cody Butler said.

He knew something was terribly wrong on his way home from school Friday. He went to the front of the bus to see if his long time bus driver, Vicki Patrick was okay.

“When I smelled alcohol and she was slurring, that’s when I walked back to my seat and called my mom and told her what was going on,” Butler said.

His mom called 911 and Butler jumped into action. He said Patrick tried to pull over at a nearby fire station because an alarm was going off, but missed the turn and stopped next to the intersection of Highway 90 and Browns Landing Road. She then turned the bus off and tried to call in another bus to pick them up. Butler said Patrick couldn’t even form a complete sentence.

Fortunately, a Baldwin County School System employee stopped to see what happened.

“He was asking what was wrong and she said everything was fine and we were getting a new bus and I made hand motions to him to come help. I mouthed that she was drunk,” Butler said.

When Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, they said Patrick reeked of alcohol, was extremely disoriented and could barely stand or answer questions. She also refused sobriety tests.

Once she was taken into custody, Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler, said Patrick’s blood alcohol level was 15 times over the limit.

A frightening ride home for all 25 students on board that could have ended worse, but Butler said he wasn’t going to let that happen.

“I didn’t let her turn on the bus. I just kept saying just stay where you are and people were coming.”