BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The driver of a school bus that tipped on its side in Boulder County last year has been sentenced after she pleaded guilty to careless driving.
Elizabeth Burris was sentenced on Tuesday in Boulder District Court to one year of unsupervised probation and a $300 fine. She apologized for the crash and wept opening in court. The judge said she had been “remorseful” but some parents said it wasn’t enough.
Burris pleaded guilty to careless driving last month in exchange for the prosecution dropping child abuse and DUI charges.
“I can say it was an accident. I will never drive a school bus again. I’m terrified still to this day. I feel I failed the kids and their parents,” said Burris.
The former St. Vrain Valley School District driver was driving eight students when her bus tipped in a steep part of a canyon near Lyons on Dec. 7, 2015. Five children were hurt, two seriously.
At the time, police said Burris told a state trooper she was on about six prescription drugs for her fibromyalgia.
Burris told the court in an emotional apology that “My panicked over-correction caused those kids to get hurt” and that she was not under the influence of drugs. She said the prescriptions she takes are low dose for medical issues of which she claimed the school district was aware.
The plea deal enraged parent Janene Pappas-McCrillis, “She should suffer the consequences for the pain my family suffers every day.”
Other parents came to Burris’ defense saying that she was a careful driver who cared deeply for the children she drove.
Burris also said that “My life has been destroyed” and that she was forced to move to another state after she lost her job.