Medina bus driver arrested for drunk driving with students onboard
MEDINA, Ohio (WOIO) - A Medina City Schools bus driver is accused of driving kids to school while intoxicated.
19 News spoke with a Medina mother who wanted to remain anonymous. She has a 10-year-old daughter who goes to Garfield Elementary. She found out Tuesday morning, two weeks after the fact, that her 4th grader’s bus driver is accused of driving her to school while under the influence of alcohol.
“I cried,” the mother admitted. “I mean, I was hysterical. This is my youngest. She’s my baby you know there’s a trust factor involved, and you think when they get on that school bus that they’re safe.”
Medina police arrested 56-year-old Herbert Ferguson after he failed a random alcohol test given to him at the end of his morning bus run.
“I would’ve felt much better had I gotten a call saying we’re not gonna be able to bus your student today than finding out two weeks later that was why,” the mom said. “I would’ve felt more security with the school system. Having to find out two weeks later that my daughter was driven to school drunk by a drunk driver, that to me is unacceptable.”
The police chief said Ferguson was breathalyzed twice. The first time his BAC was .135, and the second time it was .138, which is almost twice the legal limit.
“My biggest question is why was he tested after the route?” the mom asked. “I think that’s the reason why so many parents are upset because if they would’ve tested him before and found out then maybe it wouldn’t, obviously it’s a big deal but maybe it wouldn’t have hit so hard but the fact that he drove all of them and tested that’s pretty hard to hear.”
The Medina police chief said not only did this bus driver blow well over the legal limit, but he was also drinking vodka out of a sports drink bottle while driving the school bus.
School representatives reported the incident to Medina police, who assisted in the investigation.
Medina police arrested the former Medina School bus driver Wednesday for operating a bus with students onboard under the influence of alcohol.
Police said officers collected evidence and interviewed Ferguson regarding the allegations.
“Not only did he put the lives of kids in danger, he put the lives of everyone on the road that morning in danger,” the mother said. “I mean there are a lot of parents who do drive their kids to school so this could’ve been very much a big tragedy for this community without a doubt.”
The school district said the driver was immediately removed from duty and then he resigned. The Medina City School transportation director said Ferguson’s morning route transported to four different school buildings and he drives roughly 100 students as young as kindergarteners all the way to seniors in high school. He said Ferguson had no prior issues during the three years he worked there.
Learned he was arrested for OVI in 1987, the transportation director said an OVI that old wouldn’t disqualify an applicant from getting a commercial driver’s license.
The mother said she doesn’t know if she will let her daughter ride the school bus again.
“You know that’s a great question and I actually picked her up from school today and I’m not sure how to respond to that right now because I’m not quite sure what I’m gonna do,” she said.
Right now, random drug and alcohol tests are done on a quarterly basis. A lot of parents would like to see them happen more often and before drivers get behind the wheel.
19 News asked the school’s superintendent if they’d be making any changes to their policies in light of this incident, but we have not heard back.
Ferguson is facing six counts of child endangering and one count of OVI. He’ll be in court Friday morning.
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