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Barrington school bus driver was driving students while intoxicated, causing crash

A Barrington Area Unit District 220 school bus driver faces a felony driving under the influence charge alleging he was drunk Thursday when his bus crashed with an SUV near Deer Park, authorities said Sunday.

James Dolan, 61, of the 4000 block of Victoria Drive in Hoffman Estates, was driving the bus with students aboard when the crash occurred at about 4:20 pm in the intersection of Ela and Cuba roads, according to Lake County sheriff’s police.

None of the children were injured, but Dolan asked to go to the hospital due to a medical issue and was admitted. He was arrested after his discharge Sunday.

Police said Dolan was driving a Barrington District 220 school bus when he attempted to turn left on Cuba Road from northbound Ela Road in front of an oncoming Chevrolet Traverse. The 58-year-old Carpentersville man driving the SUV couldn’t stop because of the snow-covered road and hit the school bus, sheriff’s police said.

Sheriff’s deputies at the scene detected signs Dolan was under the influence, authorities said. Further investigation indicated Dolan was at nearly twice the legal threshold of alcohol for driving, according to the sheriff’s office.

Dolan is charged with aggravated driving under the influence — a Class 4 felony — and was ordered held on $100,000 bail.

Sheriff’s officials said Barrington District 220 has been cooperating with investigators.

“It is absolutely shameful that a professional school bus driver would put all of those children in his care at significant risk by driving drunk,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in an announcement of the arrest Sunday. “We are grateful none of the students, and nobody else was injured, as the driver’s horrifically poor judgment could have resulted in a tragic outcome.”

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