Woman rams school bus with vehicle
At approximately 6:51 a.m. on Jan. 8, officers with the Picayune Police Department were dispatched to an accident involving a school bus on Hickman Avenue.
Picayune Police Department’s Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said officers arrived and spoke with a witness on scene who observed the accident.
The witness stated he observed a school bus stopped on Jackson Landing Road to let a child on board, Magri said. The witness told officers that he observed the suspect, 41-year-old Karen Gallaty of 2009 River Rd., 9 Mile Point, La., exit her blue Honda Civic and sit on the hood of her car while the child was getting on the bus.
After the bus drove off, the witness said he observed Gallaty jump off the hood of her car, looked at the witness and made the sign of the cross motion before reentering her car and following the school bus down Jackson Landing Road, Magri said.
The witness stated he observed Gallaty’s vehicle speed up and slow down several times, almost colliding with the bus, Magri said.
The bus turned onto Union School Road, the witness stated. At that time, the witness observed Gallaty’s car accelerate and collide with the rear of the bus as the bus continued to travel down Union School Road, Magri said.
The witness’ statement alleged that Gallaty then sped up and slowed down, almost striking the bus again.
The witness observed the bus turn down Hickman Avenue, at which time the witness watched the Honda speed up and strike the bus two more times, Magri said. At that time the bus stopped on Hickman, the witness told authorities.
Through the course of the officer’s investigation, Magri said the witness’ statement corroborated with those of the bus driver and the two aides riding the bus.
Upon arrival, officers observed Gallaty sitting in the middle of the road in her car behind the bus, Magri said. The officer stated that as he approached the vehicle he could hear loud music coming from inside the car. The engine was still running and the officer observed Gallaty’s head bobbing to the music and she was not wearing her seatbelt, Magri said.
At that time, Magri said the officer opened the door and the officer smelled a strong odor believed to be burnt marijuana.
The officer had Gallaty step from the vehicle and he observed her to be unsteady on her feet and rambling in her speech, Magri said. The officer observed her eyes to be glassy and bloodshot, Magri said, and she had difficulty following instructions.
Gallaty was unable to provide proof of insurance, Magri said. At that time, the officer conducted a vehicle inventory and he located one metal grinder commonly used for grinding marijuana, one glass pipe containing what was believed to be marijuana residue and one pack of rolling papers also commonly used to smoke marijuana, Magri said.
The officers then took Gallaty into custody, Magri said. She was transported to Highland Community Hospital where blood was drawn because officers believed her to be under the influence of an intoxicating substance, Magri said.
While at the hospital, Magri said Gallaty became vulgar combative as she used profane language and threatened hospital staff members.
Gallaty was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, DUI first offense, reckless driving, no seatbelt, no proof of insurance, possession of paraphernalia and public profanity, Magri said.
The bus had five children and three adults on board, Magri said, but no injuries were reported.