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Long IslandCrime

School bus driver charged with DWI in Hempstead, Nassau police say

A school bus driver was charged with driving while intoxicated under Leandra's Law after police said they found her "slumped over the steering wheel" with a 9-year-old girl aboard the bus Monday afternoon in Hempstead.

Nassau County police said Hempstead police officers responded to South Franklin and Grove streets at about 4:50 p.m. to check on the well-being of the driver and determined, based on "multiple clues indicating the presence of alcohol," that the female driver was drunk.

Police said Mercedes Parada, 29, of Hempstead, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra's Law and endangering the welfare of a child. Police said the investigation could lead to additional charges.

Police said the 9-year-old was the only student aboard the bus when officers arrived, but could not say how many children had previously been on board during the route. In a news release police said: "All children were accounted for and safely released to their parents."

Police have also not released details on the bus company Parada was driving for or what district or school the bus was serving at the time.

Leandra's Law makes it a felony, even on first offense, to drive drunk with a passenger under age 16 in the vehicle.

The law is named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in October 2009 when a car she and other girls attending a sleepover were riding in — driven by a drunken driver — overturned on the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Court records show that Parada was arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead and was represented by the Legal Aid Society. The case was adjourned until Sept. 30, with a temporary order of protection issued.

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