WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)– There is a long list of new charges for a school bus driver accused of driving drunk with students on board.

Burton Carpenter 57, had 37 students and four adults on board his bus when police said he side-swiped another vehicle around noon on Sept. 21.

Carpenter was originally charged with DUI. Those charges have been amended to include 36 counts of child abuse, one for every student on board the bus when the incident happened.

He was driving the freshman football team from Mountain Range High School in Westminster home from a game.

Students and parents told CBS4 they believe the additional charges are acceptable.

“I think that’s good. I think that he should get that. I don’t think he should get away with it,” said student Nathan Bognar.

“I feel it’s adequate. To think about what could have happened. I think he needs to feel the severity of his actions,” said parent Cheryl Comstock.

He also has been charged with five counts of reckless endangerment for each of the adults on the bus.

Mountain Range High School’s principal sent a letter to parents this week which outlined the district’s bus safety measures: “All drivers go through multiple background checks and fingerprinting. There was nothing from those checks to preclude Carpenter from being employed by the district.”

Carpenter has admitted to previous substance abuse.

According to Department of Regulatory Agencies documents, Carpenter lost his job as a nurse in April of 2012 after his employer discovered he had been lying about giving drugs to patients. He eventually voluntarily surrendered his registered nurse license and admitted to having a substance use disorder. By then he had already been hired by Adams County 12 as a school bus driver.

Carpenter is scheduled to appear in Adams County Court for his arraignment on Monday.


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