Caitlin Railo, school bus driver, was high on drugs in February Huguenot crash, cops say
A Port Jervis woman was high on drugs when she crashed a school bus in February and seriously injured a Deerpark man, State Police said Friday.
Cops arrested 31-year-old Caitlin Railo, also known as Caitlin Metcalf, on Thursday after receiving the results of laboratory tests on blood they had taken from Railo after the Feb. 14 crash.
In the accident in Huguenot, Railo was behind the wheel of a 40-foot Freightliner school bus when she turned from Route 209 onto Peenpack Trail, colliding with a Honda Civic. Paramedics sent the Civic's driver, 19-year-old Justin Maher, to Westchester Medical Center by helicopter. Maher was in critical condition with head injuries after the crash.
On Thursday, Railo was charged with first-degree felony vehicular assault, as well as misdemeanor driving while impaired by drugs and endangering the welfare of a child.
The last charge was added because a 12-year-old girl was still on the bus at the time of the crash. That student wasn't seriously injured, according to officials.
Railo was arraigned and sent to Orange County Jail, where she remained Friday on $5,000 bail. It wasn't clear if she had retained an attorney.
Cops said Railo should have yielded the right of way to Maher, who was in the opposite lane of traffic. They did not say what substance Railo allegedly had in her bloodstream.
Railo has a history of driving-related criminal charges. In May of 2005, Newburgh town police said she was behind the wheel of a van and allegedly ignored a stop sign before colliding with an SUV in the Town of Newburgh. The force of the collision flipped the SUV on its side and left the driver, a 33-year-old Newburgh man, trapped inside, according to several reports at the time.
When a passenger in Railo's van got out to check on the Newburgh man, Railo drove off, police said. Firefighters had to extricate the victim, and Railo -- who was wanted on a probation violation for another conviction -- was charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
It wasn't immediately clear how those charges were resolved.
In the February crash, Railo was driving the bus for Quality Bus Service of Sparrowbush and was taking students home from the New Life Christian School in Matamoras, Pa. Quality Bus Service said Railo had been fired after the crash.
"The Quality Bus Service bus driver involved in the crash in Huguenot was terminated in February for violating numerous company policies," company owner Michael Martucci said in a statement to Newsday. "We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities during this investigation."
"We take great pride in our company's strong record of school bus safety," Martucci said. "Our procedures for hiring, evaluating and testing our bus drivers exceed state regulations and we maintain a rigorous training program that teaches the best practices of the industry."
Messages were left Friday with the State Police investigator handling the case. Attempts to reach Maher were unsuccessful.