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Bus Driver Wants To Change Plea In Crash, Go To Trial (Updated)

Story Update
Judge rejects bus driver's attempt to change guilty plea

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) - A judge declined on Thursday to let a northern Kentucky bus driver who was high on drugs during an accident that injured 17 students withdraw her guilty plea.

Angelynna Young, 29, made the request shortly before she was to be sentenced in Grant County Circuit Court, but Judge Stephen Bates turned down the request and scheduled sentencing for later in the day, The Kentucky Enquirer reported on its Web site.

Young pleaded guilty to a dozen charges in June, including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, possession of a controlled substance, assault and wanton endangerment. In exchange, Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Crawford recommended a 22-year sentence with eligibility for parole after 122 months.

At the start of the hearing, Young told Judge Stephen Bates she wanted to make a statement.

Young told the families that if she was in their shoes she wouldn't know if she'd be able to forgive either. Young said she was "not the monster the media made her out to be" and that she was a divorced mother of three who took a job driving a school bus because she loved working with children. She said she was two weeks pregnant at the time of the wreck.

Young then asked Bates to withdraw her plea.

Many family members of the students on the bus that day cried as video from inside the bus the day of the wreck was played in the courtroom.

"The day of the accident ... was the worst day of my life," said Steve Shively, father of 12-year-old Cody Shively who was severely injured in the crash. "We didn't know if he would live. All you could do is sit and cry."

Cody's mother, Tammy Shively, was rushed out of the courtroom crying after she read a statement in which she called Young a "low life" for operating a school bus while taking drugs.

Earl Hampton, a minister who has been visiting Young since her arrest, said Young was his children's bus driver for 2½ years.

"I've had the opportunity to pray with her for the families who have suffered tremendous hurt," Hampton said.

Young crashed the bus carrying Grant County middle school students into a pole on January 17. Two of the injured students had lengthy stays in the hospital.

After the crash, police found more than 40 bottles of prescription medication in Young's apartment. A urine test showed that she had drugs including cocaine, marijuana and a prescription painkiller in her system at the time of the crash.
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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Original Story

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) - A northern Kentucky bus driver who was allegedly high on drugs during an accident that injured 17 students sought to withdraw her guilty plea on Thursday.

Angelynna Young, 29, made the request shortly before she was to be sentenced in Grant County Circuit Court.

Young had pleaded guilty to a dozen charges in June, including obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, possession of a controlled substance, assault and wanton endangerment. In exchange, Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Crawford recommended a 22-year sentence with eligibility for parole after 122 months.

At the start of the hearing, Young told Judge Stephen Bates she wanted to make a statement, The Kentucky Enquirer reported on its Web site.

Young told the families that if she was in their shoes she wouldn't know if she'd be able to forgive either. Young said she was "not the monster the media made her out to be" and that she was a divorced mother of three who took a job driving a school bus because she loved working with children. She said she was two weeks pregnant at the time of the wreck.

Young then asked Bates to withdraw her plea. Bates called a 10-minute recess after Young's attorneys said they were unaware the move would take place. Bates did not immediately rule on Young's request.

Earl Hampton, a minister who has been visiting Young since her arrest, said Young was his children's bus driver for 2½ years.

"I've had the opportunity to pray with her for the families who have suffered tremendous hurt," Hampton said.

Young crashed the bus carrying Grant County middle school students into a pole on January 17. Two of the injured students had lengthy stays in the hospital.

After the crash, police found more than 40 bottles of prescription medication in Young's apartment. A urine test showed that she had drugs including cocaine, marijuana and a prescription painkiller in her system at the time of the crash.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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