Cocke Co. school bus driver out of jail, suspended without pay

5:42 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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Cheryl Hembree, 49, has bonded out of jail after being arrested Monday,charged with DUI and violating the state's open container law. Cocke County deputies say they found the school bus driver inside her bus and she had more than the legal limit of alcohol in her system. Deputies say she blew a 0.09 on the breathalyzer.

Cocke County Schools Supervisor Casey Kelley said, "I'm disappointed in the poor choice allegedly of an adult when it comes to a potential safety risk of our students. Luckily, we had some very good citizens in our community that took the initiative to report something that didn't meet the eyeball test."

Kelley said Hembree had driving experience from another state and started driving for the Cocke County school system as a substitute school bus driver in October 2012. Hembree became a permanent driver in December 2012.

In the more than a year that Hembree has driven for Cocke County schools, Kelley said no reports had been filed against her.

The Cocke County Schools supervisor said all transportation employees sign a drugs and alcohol zero tolerance policy when they are employed.

"So what I'll have to do is look at it and determine whether an employee has violated that policy based on the accusations and allegations," Kelley said.

Kelley added no students were on the bus at the time Hembree was found legally intoxicated. He also said a substitute school bus driver has taken on Hembree's routes while she is on suspension without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

A court date for Hembree has been set for March 23rd at 8:30 a.m.


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