An Oregon school bus driver was arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), after he reportedly drove a school bus off the road and into a ditch with students on board. Advocates for seatbelts in school buses said the school bus driver and school district got lucky this time.
On Nov. 13, a Forest Grove School District school bus was found in a ditch west of Portland with 10 children between the ages of 10 and 16 onboard. The Mid Columbia Bus Company school bus driver, 20-year-old Johnathan Gates, and an adult bus aid were also onboard.
A media release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said there were no injuries to the occupants of the bus. However, Gates appeared to be impaired and was arrested for a DUI-controlled substance.
Media Release: School Bus Driver Arrested for DUII After a Crash with 10 Children Aboard
— WCSO Oregon (@WCSOOregon) November 13, 2019
Gates reportedly cooperated with investigators and was issued a citation and released. He is also facing charges of reckless driving and 11 counts of reckless endangering, according to a local news station.
The news segment also said the driver was on that route for only three days prior to the crash. Following district procedures, the driver will undergo a drug test and be placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
Interior video of the crash that wa released by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office shows the driver traveling off the road into a ditch and students being propelled out of their seats. Students can be heard screaming and the bus driver continually apologizing.
Seatbelt safety advocate Rudolph Breglia said in a statement that the school district was fortunate that no one was seriously injured. While students were “shaken up,” he added that everyday school districts and communities are taking a gamble when school buses are not equipped with lap/shoulder seatbelts.