Impaired school bus driver from Red Deer sentenced to 45 days in jail

An Alberta woman has been sentenced to 45 days in jail for being drunk while driving a school bus.

Shelly Joy Kolodychuk of Red Deer was also given a 12 month driving ban and 12 months probation in court Monday.

The 42 year old pleaded guilty in September to one count of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level over .08.

No one was injured when the bus carrying 18 students aged five to 12 struck a tree on June 5.

A witness called 911 after the bus hit a tree and a sign, then continued for a short distance before stopping.

A container with alcohol that smelled "fruity" was discovered on the bus following the crash and Kolodychuk provided two samples that registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.2.

Kolodychuk's lawyer, Will Wilms, says Kolodychuk began seeking treatment for anxiety issues in November 2016 and had fallen into a pattern of "self medicating" at the time of the incident.

Wilms told court that both Kolodychuk and her husband quit drinking since the June 5 incident.

Judge Bert Skinner said he could not overlook Kolodychuk's blood alcohol level, her refusal to stop after hitting the tree, the number and age of the children aboard the bus, and the harm caused not only to herself but also students, parents, her employer, and the community.

Skinner also noted Kolodychuk committed a significant breach of trust, adding it was lucky that no children were hurt in the crash.

"It is very unlikely the accused will ever see doors of the courthouse again because of her efforts to ensure her issues are appropriately addressed," Skinner noted.

Three other counts against Kolodychuk - impaired operation of a motor vehicle, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and fail to remain at the scene of a collision - were dropped.

Kolodychuk will serve her sentence on weekends starting Friday.

© 2017 The Canadian Press