Last Modified: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 11:51 AM
A substitute school bus driver was arrested for drunk driving after dropping off DeQuincy students Monday morning.
Matthew Oliver Richard, 26, of Sulphur, was seen by a trooper with Louisiana State Police speeding and weaving on La. 27, about six miles south of DeQuincy, according to Sgt. James Anderson, Troop D spokesman. He was pulled over shortly before 8 a.m. and the trooper determined he was drunk.
There were no children on the bus at the time of his arrest, but an investigation revealed that 49 children under the age of 12 had been on the bus just before Richard was pulled over, Anderson said. Richard was driving Bus No. 350 registered to the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s, according to Andy Ardoin, the School Board’s director of transportation. He said Richard’s route was to all four DeQuincy schools.
No injuries were reported.
Anderson said an open bottle of Southern Comfort, which authorities believe was stolen, was found on the bus.
Richard was arrested and a found to have an alcohol intoxication level of 0.211, which is 2.5 times the legal limit in Louisiana, Anderson said.
Charges included DWI with child endangerment, speeding 75 mph in a 55 mph zone, improper lane usage, possession of an open alcoholic container in a motor vehicle and theft under $500.
Richard was certified as a bus driver in December 2012 and, according to Ardoin, his “driving record was good.” However, Anderson said Richard was dishonorably discharged from the Marines.
A recommendation to have Richard removed as a driver has been sent to the School Board. Assistant Superintendent Gary Anderson said he will be removed as an employee and he feels certain the board will discuss the incident.
“In our policy, we have zero tolerance for that,” Anderson said. “It is certainly by no means an everyday situation. Unfortunately you just can’t be with everybody at all times and (drivers) have to accept that responsibility when you get on a bus with children.”
A similar incident happened two years ago when a Barbe Elementary School bus driver was found driving while intoxicated. Police arrested Brandi N. Hood, 32, of Sulphur on Jan. 5, 2011 after responding to a call about an erratic bus driver in south Lake Charles. Hood’s breath-alcohol test was .000 and she reportedly told deputies that earlier she had taken Soma and Lorcet pills. No children had been on the bus, but Hood’s position was terminated.