Driving school

School bus driver charged with drunk driving causing crash in Deer Park while students were on board

James Dolan, 61, of Hoffman Estates.

Police say a school bus driver, who was driving while intoxicated, caused an accident in Deer Park while students from Barrington District 220 were on the bus.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded at approximately 4:20 p.m. Thursday at Cuba Road and Ela Road in Deer Park to a vehicle accident report involving a school bus.

According to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli, the school bus was taking students home from Prairie Middle School in Barrington School District 220.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived and checked that none of the students on the bus were injured. The driver of the other vehicle is also unharmed.

Sheriff’s deputies determined that school bus driver James Dolan, 61, of the 4000 block of Victoria Drive in Hoffman Estates, was traveling northbound on Ela Road and turned left onto Cuba Road westbound.

Dolan didn’t give in to oncoming traffic and turned in front of a southbound 2015 Chevrolet Traverse, driven by a 58-year-old Carpentersville man.

The driver of the Traverse was unable to stop on the snowy road and collided with the school bus, Covelli said.

Sheriff’s deputies at the scene detected signs that Dolan was impaired by alcohol.

Further investigation revealed Dolan was driving under the influence of alcohol and had more than double the legal alcohol limit in his system, Covelli said.

Dolan requested to be taken to the hospital due to a medical issue and was transported to an area hospital by ambulance. He was admitted to hospital.

Sheriff’s deputies obtained a warrant for Dolan’s arrest for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class 4 felony. A Lake County judge set bail on the warrant at $100,000.

Dolan was released from hospital on Sunday and taken into custody. He was transported to Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing on Tuesday.

The Barrington School District 220 administration cooperated with the sheriff’s office throughout the investigation, Covelli said.

“It is absolutely shameful that a professional school bus driver would put all those children in his care at significant risk by driving while intoxicated. We are grateful that none of the students and no one else were injured, as the driver’s horribly poor judgment could have resulted in a tragic outcome,” said Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg.