Tyngsboro school bus driver fired after being found drunk in parking lot

TYNGSBORO, MA (WHDH) - A bus driver in Tyngsboro has been fired after she was arrested on drunken driving charges earlier this week, according to 7News sources.

A police report first obtained by 7News said officers responded around 3:45 p.m. on Monday to Brickhouse Pizza on Middlesex Road for a report of a school bus that was haphazardly parked in the lot with the driver appearing intoxicated.

Debra Cloutier, 57, was allegedly found drunk inside the bus, which is owned by Christianson Bus Company. Field sobriety tests conducted determined that Cloutier had a blood-alcohol level of 0.157, nearly twice the legal limit.

“She really didn’t understand what was going on. She was confused,” Police Chief Richard Howe said.

There were no students on board the school bus at the time, but Howe said Cloutier was headed to pick up students at Innovation Academy when she pulled into the pizza shop.

“She failed to show up. Calls went out to find out where that bus was. This was the bus,” Howe said.

The owner of Brickhouse Pizza says he called 911, alerting police of Cloutier’s presence outside his shop.

“She pulled in and she was just acting erratic,” Chris Callery said. “She said she was going to pick up the kids at the school so I called the authorities and they came.”

Cloutier admitted to officers that she had been drinking, saying she had a “celebratory drink” with a friend, according to a police report.

7’s Steve Cooper reports that Cloutier, while in a police cruiser following her arrest, slipped out of handcuffs and answered a phone call.

DEBRA CLOUTIER

“What she did was obviously horrendous and she’s going to have to answer for that,” Howe said.

At this time, Howe said the Tyngsboro Police Department has no reason to believe Cloutier operated the bus while drunk with students on board.

Cloutier is charged with operating under the influence of alcohol. Police say she was not in possession of her license. She was arraigned Tuesday and released on personal recognizance.

The incident is under investigation.

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