Former school bus driver convicted of transporting students while on drugs

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- A school bus driver accused of driving students while on drugs and carrying a firearm has been convicted.

Penny Wolf, 44, of Milwaukee, on Wednesday, June 27 was found guilty by a jury -- convicted on two of three counts:

  • OWI, third offense, with passenger under the age of 16
  • Possession of amphetamine, LSD, psilocin

She was found not guilty on a charge of possession of a firearm on the grounds of a school.

Wolf will be sentenced on July 26.

Brookfield police stopped Wolf just after she dropped off Swanson Elementary School students at school on Dec. 23, 2017, (the last day of class before the break for the holidays) after reports she was driving erratically and complaints from parents and school staff members.

Police said she was impaired and had a concealed handgun.

Swanson Elementary School

Swanson Elementary School

After the incident, Elmbrook School District officials and the president of the Board of Education met with First Student, the bus company,  to follow up. In a statement on the school district's website, officials said they asked First Student to:

  1. Re-certify background checks on all active drivers
  2. Verify the commercial drivers license status of all drivers
  3. Describe the “fit for duty” protocols used by First Student staff each morning before a driver is sent on a route
Swanson Elementary School

Swanson Elementary School

A First Student spokesman told FOX6 News that Wolf had been a driver for a year-and-a-half, and passed a background check.

First Student

First Student

However, following the allegations against her, they said Wolf would be terminated.

"We have a zero tolerance policy for employees whose actions may harm or put others at risk. Behavior such as this is unacceptable," Chris Kemper, First Student spokesman said.

Penny Wolf

Penny Wolf

First Student

First Student

According to a criminal complaint, when police went to the First Student bus company to speak with Wolf after the incident, she said "the roads were slippery and she slid several times and did bump into the curb once, but didn't feel her driving was erratic or reckless." She said she slid through a stop sign at one point because of ice, and said the roads were not taken care of. She also said "she was late for work and running behind," and she had missed her first route that day.

The complaint indicates Wolf stumbled into a doorway when she walked into an office, and her pupil size did not seem normal.

Field sobriety tests were performed poorly, the complaint says.

Prosecutors say Wolf had Adderall in a pill bottle that she said belonged to her sister. She said she never took any, and "was going to return them" to her sister. She said her sister told her "they would help with her sleepiness."

She said she did not take anything on the day of the incident except for a supplement that apparently helps with her anxiety.

A Smith & Wesson 380 with six bullets in it, along with a fully loaded magazine was found in her jacket, according to the complaint. Wolf said she had a concealed carry permit but it was determined to be expired.

A drug recognition expert evaluated Wolf and found her to be under the influence of a stimulant -- and unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.

However, the complaint states Wolf told police she didn't feel impaired by anything, and didn't believe her driving was erratic.

When questioned about the gun found in her possession, Wolf said "it's for protection, because she doesn't live in a good neighborhood," and she "forgot she had it in her pocket." She said she normally leaves it in the center console in her truck.

The complaint makes reference to Wolf's prior OWI convictions -- in November of 1989 and January of 2004.