UniteGPS – It has been a tough week for school transportation in the Sunshine State following the arrest of a Florida school bus driver accused of driving under the influence with 40 students on board.
On Feb. 10, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office located north of Daytona Beach published a press release over Facebook announcing the arrest of school bus driver Mark Michael McNeil. The 60-year-old driver currently faces over 14 possible child neglect charges, as well as driving under the influence and resisting arrest.
“This drunk thought it was okay to endanger 40 children and other drivers by driving a loaded school bus significantly impaired,” said Sheriff Rick Staly in the statement.
“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.”
Florida school bus driver
The incident occurred on Feb. 9. Released on a $500 bond, authorities originally brought McNeil to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility where he exhibited a blood alcohol content level of .32 and .31; four times the legal limit under Florida law.
According to the memo, colleagues reported that McNeil arrived at work smelling of alcohol, even taking the wrong bus to start his shift. Approximately 40 middle school students were on board with the McNeil behind the wheel.
McNeil reportedly ignored school transport officials when they tried contacting him via radio, only to then return their calls claiming he was having a medical emergency. When apprehended by his supervisor and then authorities, the Florida bus driver complained about not being able to breathe before trying to escape when police arrived.
So far, the responses have been fierce over social media.
“Words can’t describe our outrage here,” published Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida over Twitter. “We are so thankful for @FlaglerSheriff for intercepting and saving these precious lives. #EnoughIsEnough #ThisIsAnEpidemic”
Three days prior to the incident, the Florida Highway Patrol ticketed McNeil for passing a stop sign, reportedly involved in a separate crash incident while driving the same PM bus route.