FLAGLER COUNTY (CBSMiami/CNN) — A Florida school bus driver is out on bond following his arrest on charges of driving drunk with 40 students on board.
Mark McNeil, 60, was allegedly found to have four times the legal limit of blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest on Wednesday, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. His blood alcohol level was .32 and .31. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
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The sheriff’s office said McNeil arrived to work for his shift Wednesday and a coworker smelled alcohol on him and alerted supervisors.
Police say he took the wrong bus, picked up about 40 students from a middle school and began dropping them off at their stops, ignoring attempts by school officials to reach him by radio.
Instead, police say, he used the radio to notify district officials he was having a medical emergency.
Investigators said McNeil’s supervisor located him along his route. McNeil got out of the bus and fell to the ground, complaining that he couldn’t breathe.
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Emergency crews took McNeil to the hospital where deputies said he tried to run away. They captured him on the property a short time later. He smelled of alcohol and showed signs of intoxication while resisting arrest, the sheriff’s office said.
“This drunk thought it was okay to endanger 40 children and other drivers by driving a loaded school bus significantly impaired,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “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.”
McNeil faces charges for driving under the influence with passengers under 18, resisting an officer without violence, and child neglect.
McNeil received a citation three days earlier for failure to obey a stop sign. He had a crash during the same afternoon bus route.
He’s been a district employee since April 2017.
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