Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

October 9, 2013

Woman pleads to DUI in bus crash

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Oct. 9, 2013 — Stephanie Vannater, 29, of Grayson, has pleaded guilty to a first offense DUI and will serve the maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Vannater was arrested and charged by the Carter County Sheriff's Department after a non-injury collision involving her vehicle and a Carter County school bus on March 12, 2013.

No students were on the bus at the time of the accident but two children were in the vehicle with Vannater when deputies arrived on the scene.

After failing a field sobriety test, blood work was taken which revealed Xanax in her system. Vannater indicated to officers that she had taken the drug before driving the vehicle but that it was not prescribed to her by a doctor.

Rather than proceed to trial with the case, Vannater instead opted to accept a plea agreement offered by Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery.

“I was prepared to take this case to the jury, but the defendant accepted guilt and the maximum amount of jail time allowed by Kentucky law,” said Flannery.

This is the second recent instance of a school bus being hit by a driver operating under the influence.

In January of 2012, Mark Carpenter collided with a school bus during its morning pickups on KY 955 near Olive Hill.

He was later convicted on a DUI charge, as well as reckless driving and negligence in an accident.

“As Carter County attorney I will aggressively prosecute drunk and drugged drivers who hit school buses on our roadways,” said Flannery.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.