School bus driver accused of driving drunk with 40 kids on board
FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (WKMG) - A Florida school bus driver is charged with driving drunk with dozens of young students on board.
“He was very aggressive when he was being arrested,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “He’s a mean drunk, quite frankly.”
Staly said body camera video shows aggressive behavior during the arrest of Flagler County School District bus driver Mark McNeil.
School leaders confirm he’s now on paid leave after investigators say he picked up about 40 kids from Buddy Taylor Middle School on Wednesday while he was drunk.
Staly said he was almost four times over the legal limit.
“We don’t tolerate it at all, and we certainly don’t tolerate a bus driver doing this,” he said.
The sheriff said it all started when McNeil left the bus depot in a vehicle that wasn’t assigned to him after an employee smelled alcohol on his breath.
“The district office was calling him on the radio in the school bus, telling him to pull over in a safe location, which he ignored,” Staly explained.
His supervisor ended up catching up with him in Palm Coast, where McNeil stopped the bus and ended up falling off the bus, Staly said, claiming he couldn’t breathe.
That is when deputies were called.
McNeil was taken to a nearby hospital where he tried to run away, according to Staly, but he was caught and later charged with DUI and child neglect.
“I wish the school district would have called us when this first started instead of trying to track down the bus driver. Tell us the route that they’re going and maybe we can find them quicker,” Staly said.
The sheriff said McNeil was also in a minor bus crash on Monday.
No one was hurt and he said no drugs were found in his system.
Parents from Buddy Taylor Middle School are in shock.
“If I have to trust another adult with my kids, they’ve got to be on it,” Anthony Stewart said.
The bus driver was booked into the Flagler County Jail Wednesday and was released on bond Thursday.
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