School bus driver avoids jail for crash that injured 5 students

BOULDER, Colo. — A driver who rolled a school bus with eight students on board while allegedly under the influence of drugs avoided jail in a deal cut with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.

Elizabeth Burris faced numerous criminal charges, including several felonies of child abuse and vehicular assault for the crash on Highway 7 near mile marker 25 west of Lyons on Dec. 7.

She pleaded guilty to careless driving last month and prosecutors dropped 13 other charges against her, according to court records.

Boulder County Judge Ingrid Bakke sentenced Burris to one year of unsupervised probation and a $300 fine. No community service was ordered.

Burris told the Colorado State Patrol after the crash, which injured five students from the St. Vrain Valley School District, that she didn’t remember why it happened, only that she drifted off the road, tried to gain control and overcorrected.

In an arrest affidavit, the Colorado State Patrol said Burris showed indications “of drug impairment and stated that she was on about six different prescription medications.”

She then “consented to voluntary roadside maneuvers and did not perform them as instructed.”

Burris apologized to the victims’ families while in court Tuesday, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

“I recognize that despite how much I cared, the accident still happened and I was the driver,” Burris said. “I am the one to blame.

She said she has been on medications for years to treat fibromyalgia, several bulging discs and migraines.

“I never would have done anything to put those kids’ lives at risk,” Burris said.