School bus driver crashed into tree while under influence of drugs, NJ police say

School bus driver crashed into tree while under influence of drugs, NJ police say
School bus driver Lisa Byrd, 57, faces charges of driving while impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia in addition to 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child. (Source: Newark Department of Public Safety/Facebook)

NEWARK, NJ (WCBS/CNN) - A school bus driver in New Jersey faces multiple charges, including child endangerment, after police say she crashed the bus after going unconscious due to apparent drug use.

Bus driver Lisa Byrd, 57, was arrested after she hit a tree at slow-speed in Newark, NJ, Wednesday afternoon while transporting 12 special needs students, ranging in age from 5 to 13 years.

"I looked away, and I looked back. The bus was rolling very slow. There was another man who had stopped. He was stopping traffic, so the bus can go. And she crashed into the tree very soft,” witness Sharod Jones said.

First responders found Byrd unconscious at the scene and used Narcan to revive her. She was later hospitalized.

None of the students on the bus at the time of the incident were injured.

Police Arrest Newark Woman Following School Bus Collision at 14th Avenue and Jones Street Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka...

Posted by Newark NJ Department of Public Safety on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“Endangering the lives of Newark children is something we will not tolerate,” said Mayor Ras Baraka in a press release. “We are grateful that none of the students were injured and that no other residents were harmed due to this incident.”

Officials say there were clear signs Byrd was likely driving under the influence, including contraband drug paraphernalia found at the scene.

“Driving while impaired is dangerous enough, but adding children to the situation is particularly irresponsible and heinous,” said Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose in the press release.

Byrd faces charges of driving while impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia in addition to 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police say she previously had her driving status revoked from 1996 to 2006.

Copyright 2019 WCBS via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray News contributed to this report.