According to St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department, on December 13, 2012 at approximately 3:15 p.m. the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office’s, Leonardtown High School, School Resource Officer Cpl. Chad Hartzell, was contacted by the St. Mary’s County Public School Transportation Department. The Transportation Department received a complaint regarding the operator of School Bus # 603. The complain alleged the operator of Bus #603 was operating the school bus in reckless driving and was possibly under the influence of alcohol. The bus and driver were stationary, outside of Leonardtown High School loading students at the end of day’s dismissal. Approximately 12 students had loaded onto the bus but the bus had not yet departed. Cpl. Hartzell made contact with the driver who was identified as Ethel Quade Ressler, 67, of Mechanicsville Maryland.
While speaking with Ressler, Cpl. Hartzell detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Ressler’s breath and person. Cpl. Hartzell also observed other signs of possible impairment. Cpl. Hartzell had Ressler exit the bus and he conducted a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. Upon the completion of the test, Ressler was placed under arrest for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and transported to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
While being processed at the Sheriff’s Office, police say that Ressler made threats to harm herself. Ressler was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Ressler was charged with the following traffic violations:
Driving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
Driving while impaired by alcohol
Attempting to drive vehicle while impaired by alcohol while transporting a minor
No person within 4 hours having physical control of vehicle shall possess intoxicating beverage
The Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation and consulting with the St. Mary’s County States Attorneys Office. Additional criminal charges against Russler may be depending. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office is cooperating with the St. Mary’s County Public School System as they conduct their internal administrative investigation. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Cpl. Chad Hartzell at 301-475-4040.