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A bus driver arrived at Leonardtown High School drunk Thursday to pick up students, according to the sheriff’s office.

The St. Mary’s public schools’ transportation department received a complaint regarding the operator of bus number 603 that alleged the operator was driving in a reckless manner and was possibly under the influence of alcohol, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

About 3:15 p.m. that afternoon, school resource officer Cpl. Chad Hartzell made contact with the driver, Ethel Quade Ressler, 67, of Mechanicsville, according to the sheriff’s office.

The bus and driver were stationary, outside the school loading students as students were getting on at end of the school day, according to the sheriff’s office. Approximately 12 students had boarded the bus, but the bus had not yet departed, according to the release.

While speaking with Ressler, Hartzell detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Ressler’s breath and person, according to the sheriff’s release, and the corporal allegedly observed other signs of possible impairment.

Ressler was given a field sobriety test and, upon the completion of the test, was placed under arrest for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Ressler was charged with driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; driving while impaired by alcohol; attempting to drive a vehicle while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor; and other charges.

The sheriff’s office is working with the St. Mary’s public school system as they conduct an internal administrative investigation, according to the sheriff’s release. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Hartzell at 301-475-4040.

jyeatman@somdnews.com