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A school bus driver is facing charges after having dozens of students on board while drunk, sheriff’s office says

By Sharif Paget, CNN

A Flagler County, Florida, school district bus driver accused of driving drunk while 40 middle school students were on board was arrested Wednesday, police said.

Mark McNeill was allegedly found to have four times the legal limit of blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. CNN has reached out to McNeill, who was released on bond on Thursday, but has not heard back.

McNeill, 60, allegedly arrived to work for his shift Wednesday and a coworker who noticed the smelled of alcohol alerted supervisors, the sheriff’s office said.

Police say the driver 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, he allegedly then used the radio to notify district officials he was having a medical emergency, authorities said. After allegedly coming out of the vehicle and complaining he couldn’t breathe, McNeill was taken a nearby hospital.

There, he allegedly attempted to flee responding officers and was apprehended, the sheriff’s office said.

“Thankfully, no one was hurt as a result of his actions,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “I commend the employee who reported him to school officials.”

McNeill is facing charges including driving under the influence with passengers under the age of 18, resisting an officer without violence, and child neglect, the sheriff’s office said, adding further charges are pending.

Jason Wheeler, a Flagler County School District spokesperson, told CNN that McNeill has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation into the incident is ongoing,

McNeill has been a school district employee since April 2017, and while there have been some minor incidents in the past, “nothing of this magnitude” has occurred, Wheeler added.

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