Scout camp bus driver, arrested for DWI last year, pleads guilty

The bus driver who was driving drunk last month when she twice crashed transporting youths home from the Baiting Hollow Scout Camp has pleaded guilty, court records show.

Diane Juergens, 62, of Ridge pleaded guilty Thursday to all 38 counts in the grand jury indictment against her, including the top charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated and 20 counts of aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle.

At an arraignment last August, Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Kim Carson told Judge Stephen Braslow that Ms. Juergens crashed the bus twice after a camp counselor on board told her she had missed the second stop at the camp, failing to pick up the remaining camp attendees she was supposed to drive home July 13. She backed into a stone pillar on Sound Avenue that for decades has marked the entrance to the Oak Hill community as she attempted to make a u-turn before crashing into a tan GMC Yukon as she attempted to make her way back to camp to pick up the additional campers. Ms. Carson said that while the driver of the truck stopped, Ms. Juergens did not as she again passed the other stop at the camp.

“She drove right past the second stop where the campers were still waiting and went right back to the original location where she [had] picked up the campers who were already on the bus,” Ms. Carson told Judge Braslow.

At a press conference following the arraignment, former Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said a blood sample taken following her arrest revealed Ms. Juergens had a .30% blood alcohol content, more than three times the legal limit. She also had an empty beer bottle near her seat on the bus, Ms. Carson said.

No children were injured in the incident and Ms. Juergens’s employment with the bus company, First Student Inc., was terminated the following day.

She is due back in court for sentencing June 14. The top charge is a class D felony carrying with it a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison.