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Police: Woman driving Westerly school bus was drunk

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Westerly — A woman driving a bus belonging to Westerly Public Schools was arrested Tuesday night after police said they found her driving slowly in the middle of two lanes on state Route 3 in West Greenwich.

According to West Greenwich police Chief Richard Ramsay, Shelly Way, 52, of Westerly was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.15 percent.

Ramsay said Coventry police alerted his department to the alleged intoxicated driver. According to Ramsay, Coventry police told his officers a Cumberland Farms employee had seen an intoxicated woman leave the store and get into a school bus.

That employee reported to police that the bus had turned left on Route 3.

Ramsay said officers from his department located the bus shortly thereafter traveling about 15 mph in the middle of two lanes. He said officers had their lights on signaling for her to pull over for about ¼ of a mile before she actually did.

According to Ramsay, police found Way in “poor condition” with slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. After she failed all three field sobriety tests, Ramsay said police brought her back to the station.

There, she agreed to a Breathalyzer test that showed her blood alcohol content was greater than 0.15 percent, according to Ramsay.

Prior to Way's arrest, a Westerly High School track coach had persuaded Way to pull over and unload his team, according to the Westerly Sun.

Westerly Superintendent of Schools Roy Seitsinger Jr. told the Westerly Sun Way resigned Wednesday.

Todd Grimes, Westerly's principal, praised coach Ryan Palmer for "his decisive decision-making" to ensure the safety of the 18 students, who were heading back to Westerly after a meet.

Police told NBC 10 they found several small bottles of alcohol by the driver's seat. Some were empty.

Way is due in Kent County Superior Court on Jan. 4.

Editor's Note: This version includes information from the Associated Press.


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