Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Wayne School Bus Driver discovered drunk, Involved in head on collision hours later

When emergency personnel responded to the two vehicle crash on Route 350 in the Town of Macedon, just south of Eddy Road on Wednesday at 6:25 p.m., they knew it was bad. The vehicles plowed into each other head-on at an estimated speed of 55 miles per hour.

It took firefighter and ambulance crews almost an hour to extract the two women drivers from each of the vehicles. The northbound driver, Candace C. Aldrich, age 64, of Farmington was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Hospital and sustained serious physical injuries from the crash. She was rushed into surgery for a broken leg, broken arm, four broken bones in her back and a foot that needed to be partially reattached. She remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The southbound driver, Julynn M. Criscuolo, age 45, of Sodus, was also taken to Strong, but released with little more than bumps and bruises.

Police found an open wine bottle in Criscuolo’s vehicle and there was a strong smell of alcohol at the scene and at the hospital. On Friday, Criscuolo was arrested for Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Drugs and Alcohol, Reckless Driving, Failure to Keep Right, Consumption of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle. According to police, prescription drugs were also a factor in the crash and arrest.

The Times learned on Friday that, hours earlier, Criscuolo, a bus driver for the Wayne Central School District, was suspected of being intoxicated while operating the school bus after dropping off children. According to school officials, Transportation Director Fred Prince suspected Criscuolo was intoxicated, and, as per their regulations, Criscuolo was driven down to a BOCES contracted company in Canandaigua where a blood alcohol test was administered. Sources revealed to the Times that Criscuolo’s blood alcohol level was .172 % – over twice the legal limit.

The Times was told that, as per the District policy, Criscuolo was driven home, and another employee drove her vehicle home. She was suspended pending an investigation.

The Times also learned the school district did not notify the police about the incident, until the next day (Thursday 10/31), when they learned about the car accident. A call was made to Macedon Police Chief John Colella informing him that Criscuolo was an employee and they had information regarding the incident. Both Fred Prince and assistant Superintendent Greg Atseff met with Colellea to inform him of the school bus driver incident.

The Wayne Central District issued a statement on Friday after the Times inquiry:

“I can confirm that Julynn Criscuolo is a district employee that works in the Transportation Department. Yesterday evening, the Wayne Central School District administration was notified that the employee was involved in a two vehicle accident, outside of work hours. District officials have been and will continue to work in cooperation with local authorities (Town of Macedon Police Department). In following the appropriate district policy and administrative procedure, we have removed the employee from all safety sensitive functions.”

The Times pushed and requested more information, and a call from Wayne Central School Superintendent Renee Garrett. She returned the call late Friday morning and said she had called Sheriff Barry Virts’ private line to inform him of the school bus driver incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon. She said she left a message on his answering device and also called his secretary to leave a message. After that she also called the 911 center to again leave a message concerning the incident with Criscuolo. Not being able to contact the Sheriff, Garrett asked the Wayne Central Student Resource Office to reach out to Chief Colella. This all occurred on Thursday, the day after the accident and incident at the Wayne bus garage. When asked why the day delay in calling the police, Garrett said the District “followed procedures”. “This is something we have to review in our procedures,” said Garrett. “My heart goes out to the family of the injured woman.”

When more information was requested, Garrett later sent another statement:

“In response to your inquiry as to whether the employee in question was removed from her bus? I can confirm that the district employee in question was removed from her bus and the school district is conducting an internal investigation into this matter and cooperating with the authorities and their investigations into these matters. Due to the ongoing investigations the District cannot answer any further questions or provide any additional comments.”

District Attorney Rick Healy, requested that the State Police conduct a full investigation of the school bus incident and instructed Chief Colella not to wait for the results of the blood alcohol test administered at the hospital and to arrest Criscuolo. She was arraigned in Macedon Town Court and was remanded to the Wayne County Jail on $50,000 cash bail/$100,000 bond. She is due back in Macedon Town Court on November 26th.