Bus driver transporting Bolton students from Rockville High School arrested for DUI in Manchester

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon, Manchester, Bolton, Andover - posted Fri., Sep. 20, 2013

A school bus driver was arrested for driving under the influence and other charges, after the bus, carrying Bolton students from Rockville High School's Vocational Agriculture program, collided with a wheel-chair van in Manchester on Sept. 17.

The report from the Manchester Police Department said Melissa Forrest, 36, of 25 Hendee Road, Andover, was operating the bus, which contained five students, and then rear-ended a van at the intersection of Main and Forrest streets. No students reported any injuries, nor did the three occupants of the van.

An initial report of the incident came from a motorist who observed the bus being driven erratically in the area of West Middle Turnpike, near the I-84 interchange. The area was checked by police, who did not locate the bus. A short time, later, the accident was reported, and police responded.

According to police, Forrest was given a field sobriety test at the scene, which she failed. She was charged with DUI and Following Too Close. Forrest was released on a $5,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear in court in Manchester on Sept. 30.

Superintendents from Bolton and Vernon both released statements, which reported that they were made aware of the accident right away, but not aware that driver was under the influence until some time later.

“The Bolton Superintendent’s office was not notified until later in the morning on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, that the driver had been arrested at the scene,” said Bolton Superintendent Kristin B. Heckt.  Our top priority is student safety.  We are working closely with our transportation vendor, First Student, to ensure nothing like this happens again.  

“We were informed that the collision was very low impact with minor damage to the bus and no reported injuries to students. The bus was able to transport the students home. Some parents picked up their students at the scene,” said a release from Dr. Mary Conway, Superintendent of Vernon Schools. “However,...there was much more involved in the accident that had not been communicated to us. Our biggest concern is the safety of our students. Even though this bus was not a Vernon bus, it was transporting Vernon Agricultural students. Their safety is our responsibility from when they leave their home in the morning and until they arrive home in the evening. We are working closely with Superintendent Heckt of the Bolton Public Schools to investigate this further. We want to ensure that this never happens again.”

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