Although her boss claimed a diabetic coma may have caused a New Jersey woman to crash a bus full of special needs children, prosecutors maintained during a court hearing on Wednesday that the bus driver bought and used heroin before the wreck.
NJ.com reports that 57-year-old Lisa Byrd appeared in court Wednesday for a bond hearing, where prosecutors argued that she should remain behind bars without bond given the serious charges she’s facing. According to prosecutors, police said Byrd admitted to buying heroin and using it on February 20, the day she passed out while behind the wheel of a school bus.
The bus rolled onto an interstate before crashing into a tree, close to the intersection of 14th Avenue and Jones Street in Newark.
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First responders arrived and injected Byrd with Narcan, a drug generally used to revive people going through an opioid overdose. No one was seriously injured in the crash, but the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office pushed for no bail, stating that Byrd was a danger to society.
Police reportedly said that not only did Byrd admit to buying heroin prior to driving the bus, but that she was found in possession of a white envelope with heroin inside.
Public defender Andrew Rojas told Superior Court Judge Ronald Wigler on Wednesday that his client has diabetes and high blood pressure and wouldn’t pose a risk if released on bail. Rojas also explained that Byrd didn’t have a license while driving the bus due to medical issues.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Byrd’s employer, Ahmed Mahgoub, said she likely experienced a diabetic coma, which caused the bus to crash. Mahgoub, the owner of F&A Transportation, said Byrd was not the driver of the bus, but instead an aide who helped the regular bus driver. When the bus driver failed to show up in time, Byrd reportedly decided “on her own” to drive the kids, Mahgoub said.
“I just come to realize that Lisa took the bus as an aide, for her own decision,” Mahgoub told ABC 7.
Mahgoub added that Byrd had passed all of her pre-employment drug tests.
“It looked like she was having a stroke or something, or a heart attack or something,” witness Sherod Jones told ABC 7 last month. “She was stuck. When that bus started to move, you saw the lady’s arms going down slow, like if she was coming out of it, the lady’s eyes were wide open.”
Ultimately, Judge Wigler decided to keep Byrd in jail without bail while awaiting trial, adding that she allegedly “obtained heroin (and) used heroin, just prior to going to the school to pick up these children and take them home.”
Byrd is charged with 11 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, driving under the influence, and operating a school bus without a license.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Featured Photo: Lisa Byrd, Newark Police Department]