VENTURA (CBSLA.com) — A school bus driver arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in connection with a crash that killed a 75-year-old pedestrian recently underwent a procedure to relieve a chronic back problem and is not on drugs, according to the woman’s husband.
Joanne Madaule, 54, was arrested Wednesday following a crash at Woodland and Brookshire streets in Ventura. Madaule’s bus, which carried about a dozen students, struck Marguerita McIntosh, who later died at a hospital.
At the scene of the crash, California Highway Patrol officers immediately arrested Madaule for driving under the influence. But her husband, who did not want to speak on camera, told CBS2/KCAL9’s Kara Finnstrom that investigators have jumped to conclusions.
Madaule’s husband says his wife underwent her back procedure just last week, and still has IV marks on her arms. He says he believes blood tests will prove she was not on drugs.
Madaule has been driving disabled students for the past 15 years, her husband said. Her back injury stems from another accident years ago, in which she was stopped and someone rear-ended her car, Madaule’s husband told CBS2/KCAL9.
“The driver was evaluated by a trained CHP drug recognition evaluator, who determined that the driver was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the collision,” CHP Officer Steve Reid said.
CHP officials say when final blood test results come back, they will forward the case to the District Attorney’s office, which will decide whether to file criminal charges.