No Jail Time For Driver Of School Bus That Crashed

There will be no jail time for the driver of a bus that crashed last year in Livingston County.

27-year-old Brianne Nicole Pope of Taylor was sentenced earlier today in 53rd District Court in Howell following her no-contest plea last month to three counts of Moving Violation Causing Serious Injury. Judge Daniel Bain sentenced Pope to two years of probation, 20 days of community service and 10 days of suspended jail time. The charges arose from the crash of a charter bus returning from a Hartland school field trip on April 27th, 2019 when it overturned on the freeway off-ramp from eastbound I-96 onto M-59 in Howell Township.

It was revealed in court that Pope had 2 nanograms of marijuana in her system at the time of the crash, but because Michigan has no legal limit for impaired driving involving marijuana; drivers cannot be prosecuted solely on THC levels. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt told WHMI that Pope’s sentence was not a plea agreement with his office, but was instead an agreement between the defendant and the judge that they asked the court not to follow.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit remains active against Pope by Holly Shuart of Highland, who was one of the chaperones on the trip. The lawsuit also names the bus company, Ground Travel Specialist, as a defendant and seeks damages in excess of $25,000. Shuart claims Pope was negligent and careless when driving the bus. Some of the injuries sustained by passengers included a broken neck, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. A company spokesperson said Pope is no longer an employee. (JK)

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