Florida School Bus Driver Charged With Drunk Driving While Transporting 40 Children

A Flagler County, Fla., school district bus driver allegedly drove drunk while 40 middle school students were on board and now faces a slew of charges.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said 60-year-old Mark McNeil’s blood-alcohol level was four times the legal limit when he was stopped by police Feb. 9, NBC affiliate KCRA reported.

“Stop. Don’t hit me. Don’t hit me. Stop it. Don’t hit me,” McNeil is heard saying on body cam footage after he was stopped, the news outlet reported. Video of the arrest was also released.

“He is a complete idiot to be that drunk, that impaired and now wants to endanger 40 other kids and untold number of drivers on the road,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly told the news outlet.

According to the sheriff’s office, McNeil arrived at work smelling of alcohol, and a co-worker reported it to a supervisor, the news outlet reported.

But McNeil had already driven off in the wrong school bus and gone to Buddy Taylor Middle School, where he picked up 40 students, the news outlet reported.

School officials said they tried multiple times to get him to pull over using the bus’s radio, but he ignored it. Officials finally caught up with him and got him to stop the bus.

“And when he opened the door to get out of the bus he fell out of the door and landed on the ground,” Staly told the news outlet.

A breathalyzer revealed McNeil had a blood alcohol level of 0.32, four times the legal limit.

He allegedly complained he couldn’t breathe and was taken a nearby hospital, CNN reported.  There, he allegedly tried to flee responding officers and was apprehended, the sheriff’s office said.

He was charged with DUI, resisting an officer and one count of child neglect — but could face up to 39 additional child neglect charges for every student on the bus, KCRA reported.

Jason Wheeler, a Flagler County School District spokesperson, told CNN 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 told CNN.

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