A school bus driver is accused of being intoxicated when he drove dozens of students home from their Florida middle school, sheriff's officials said.
A co-worker smelled alcohol on the 60-year-old bus driver when he arrived to work for his afternoon shift on Wednesday, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. The co-worker reported it to his supervisors, but the driver had already taken a bus that was not even assigned to him.
He picked up 40 students at Buddy Taylor Middle School and began dropping them off at their bus stops, officials said. The district's transportation officials tried to reach him by radio on the bus, but he didn't answer.
His supervisor eventually found him along the bus route and got him to stop, the report said. As he got off the bus, the driver fell to the ground, complaining that he couldn't breathe. Paramedics took him to a hospital.
The sheriff's office was notified and sent deputies to the hospital. The driver then attempted to run, but he was taken into custody moments later, the report said.
Deputies could smell alcohol on the driver, who showed signs of intoxication while resisting arrest, the report said.
“Thankfully, no one was hurt as a result of his actions," Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I commend the employee who reported him to school officials. Anyone whose careless actions endangers lives of children and other drivers deserves to be locked up, which he was.”
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The driver had a blood-alcohol level that was four times the legal limit to drive in Florida, officials said.
He was charged with DUI with passengers under 18, resisting an officer and child neglect.
The Florida Highway Patrol had cited the driver earlier in the week for failure to obey a stop sign when he was involved in a school bus crash on the same route, officials said.