Bus Driver Drives Drunk with 40 Students on Board
A 60-year-old bus driver was arrested this week for allegedly driving while under the influence with students on board.
According to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, on Wednesday, Feb. 9, a co-worker of Mark McNeil’s could smell alcohol on him and reported it to supervisors. McNeil reportedly went on with his workday and drove off in a bus not assigned to him.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, McNeil drove the bus to his usual location for his afternoon route at Buddy Taylor Middle School to pick up approximately 40 students. As he was driving, the school reportedly tried to contact McNeil via radio, and according to the Sheriff’s Office, “He used the radio to notify the District he was having a medical emergency.”
McNeil was eventually located near the intersection of Karas Trail and Karat Path by a supervisor, the Sheriff’s Office says. McNeil reportedly said he could not breathe and fell to the ground after exiting the bus and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office responded to the hospital and took him into custody. They could reportedly smell the alcohol coming from McNeil, and he showed signs of apparent intoxication.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, he was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility. His blood alcohol content reportedly reached .32 and .31, four times the legal limit in the state of Florida.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, McNeil was charged with driving under the influence with passengers under 18, resisting officer without violence, and at least one charge of child neglect. Further charges are reportedly forthcoming after the investigation is complete and the students riding the bus have been identified. According to the Sheriff’s Office, McNeil may also face 39 more counts of child neglect.
McNeil was involved in a school bus crash three days prior and cited by the Florida Highway Patrol for failure to obey a stop sign, the Sheriff’s Office says.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement, “This drunk thought it was okay to endanger 40 children and other drivers by driving a loaded school bus significantly impaired.”
Staly added, “Thankfully, no one was hurt as a result of his actions. 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.”