SULLIVAN -- A Mattoon woman pleaded guilty in Moultrie County Court on Tuesday afternoon to a felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence after a Feb. 10 collision with a school bus that sent five Teutopolis students to the hospital.
Scarlett McKinzie, 37, could face a sentence of up to two years in the Department of Corrections at an Oct. 17 sentencing hearing with Judge Hugh Finson. McKinzie also was cited for having no liability insurance on her vehicle at the time of the accident, which took place south of Sullivan on Illinois Route 32 at County Road 800N.
Moultrie County sheriff's investigators said in a sworn statement that McKinzie, driving a minivan east, struck the northbound school bus, causing it to turn over. Her blood-alcohol level was 0.250 percent, and a urine test was positive for cocaine, according to the statement. The legal alcohol limit for driving in Illinois is 0.08 percent.
The bus was carrying the Teutopolis High School boys basketball team, cheerleaders and faculty with a total of 35 passengers. The bus driver was not cited by sheriff's deputies.
McKinzie’s attorney, Moultrie County Public Defender Marvin Hansen, said a pre-sentence investigation will show she has been through what he called an “extensive” rehabilitation program and evaluations. A minimum sentence could include a county jail term, probation or community service hours.
Moultrie County States’ Attorney Jeremy Richey said he would offer accident victims and Teutopolis school officials the opportunity to testify at the sentencing hearing.
“If they would like to be a part of the hearing we will be glad to have them,” he said.