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Students talk about bus driver involved in road rage incident

Created: 03/17/2014 10:36 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

KOB Eyewitness News 4 is learning more about the school bus driver who Bernalillo deputies arrested for road rage while children were riding her bus, and for carrying illegal prescription pills.

KOB had the only crew on scene as Bernalillo Sheriff deputies took 51-year-old Linda Barreto into custody Monday afternoon.

Kids who ride Barreto's bus opened up to us about the troubled driver Monday evening.

One girl who has ridden Barrento's bus to Truman Middle School for 3 years said the driver let's her passengers do pretty much anything.

"She's always making us laugh," said Truman 8th grader Blair White.

Most of the Truman Middle School students in the tight knit South Valley neighborhood where Barrento drives have a story about her.

"She lets us jump around on the bus and all kinds of stuff," said White.

None of them thought they'd ever see her in a jail mug shot, and Blair says she's surprised to hear about the arrest of a the driver kids call "Miss Burrito." 

"She was letting kids jump out from the exit door," said White, remembering a day in 6th grade when she says Barreto let kids jump out the rear exit door.

Blair says she's got to admit, Barreto's jokes and shenanigans have always been very funny.

But sometimes they make kids uncomfortable.

"This guy said something in the bus and she was all, 'You're going to need a microscope to see that 'wee-wee,'" Blair said she recalled Barretotelling a student once.

Those are the sorts of jokes Blair says she thinks were inappropriate for a bus driver to tell.

Monday was no laughing matter for Barreto. She was arrested after admitting to deputies she was involved in a road rage incident with another driver.

"She then admitted there were children on the bus during the road rage incident," said Bernalillo County Sheriff Sgt. Aaron Williamson.

Williamson Monday said Barreto admitted to driving recklessly and brake-checking another driver during an after-school bus route around 2 p.m.

But her troubles don't end there.

"She had prescription pills on her person that she did not have a prescription for," said Williamson.

Barreto works for Albuquerque Public Schools contractor Hererra School Buses.

KOB went to their westside offices, but an employee there said they'd abruptly closed early Monday.

For Blair it's hard to believe.

She rode Barreto's bus to school Monday morning, and when she thinks back, something was different.

"She just said good morning to all of us, and was quiet in the morning," said Blair.

She said a quiet Barreto is not typical.

KOB talked to many other kids in Blair's neighborhood who told us similar stories, but didn't have permission from their parents like Blair did to be on camera.

As far as the kids on the bus at the time of the wild ride, BCSO tells us none of their parents have contacted investigators yet.

Sgt. Williamson said the office is continuing to investigate, and more charges may be filed.


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