BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4)– A former school bus driver who pleaded guilty to drinking and then driving a school bus with students on board was sentenced to probation and rehab.

A judge sentenced Burton Carpenter to three years probation and two years in an intense alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Carpenter shed some tears at his sentencing. He apologized to the 37 students and four coaches who were riding on the school bus in September while he was driving drunk. He had a blood alcohol content of .213.

Carpenter pleaded guilty to one count of DUI and one count of knowing or reckless child abuse for all 37 students.

Police said Carpenter admitted to drinking vodka before he drove the Mountain Range High School freshman football team to a game. One of the coaches on board said Carpenter was straddling lanes and had to be directed into the school parking lot where he collided with a parked truck.

Another witness said Carpenter told him he was drinking vodka in a 32-ounce Gatorade bottle.

In court, Carpenter’s attorney said he’s had a history of alcohol abuse and was sober for 13 years until that day.

The judge sentenced Carpenter to three years probation and two years in an intense alcohol rehab facility in which he must enter by Dec. 31.

Carpenter’s wife and two sons didn’t want to talk about what happened after the sentencing. Carpenter did tell the judge he’s glad no one was hurt by his actions.

Carpenter has been in jail since September. His family said they could have bailed him out but decided to leave him behind bars saying he needed to be in a place where he was “under control” and could reflect on the young lives he put in jeopardy.

The Adams 12 School District fired Carpenter on Oct. 9.


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