Southern MN Bus Driver Taking Kids To YMCA Camp North Of Duluth Drunk on Fireball
This is such a disturbing story and a nightmare for parents who trust others to watch over their kids during the day.
35 students, ages 11-14, were on a charter bus ride to a YMCA Camp Warren in Eveleth, Minnesota when State Troopers were called to check on a bus that was driving chaotically northbound on I-35 Sunday morning, what they found when they pulled him over is chilling.
According to the criminal complaint, 49-year-old Patrick Bullard didn't even notice the squad cars trying to pull him over at first, when they finally got him to stop they discovered Bullard was "dazed and disoriented" and was slurring his speech. Troopers could smell alcohol despite Bullard telling them he hadn't consumed any in days.
KARE 11 reports that Bullard, who worked for Northfield Bus Lines, took a breath test and it revealed his blood-alcohol level to be .257, which is more than six times the legal limit in Minnesota. Troopers searched Bullard's belongings and found a 2/3rds full bottle of Fireball whiskey and a cup in the cupholder with a mixed beverage containing what smelled like Fireball.
After Bullard was arrested, the bus was safely taken to a nearby gas station to wait for a new, sober, driver to arrive and take the kids to camp. The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities released a statement saying, "We have been in communication with families of all the campers since the incident on Sunday. We are very appreciative of the work of the State Patrol and the Carlton County officials to ensure the safety of our campers and our employees. We will be monitoring any actions taken by Northfield Bus Lines as we review our relationship with them for the future."
WCCO talked to John Benjamin, president of Northfield Lines, and he said "In 34 years I've never dealt with anything like this before...it was a complete shock to us."
Bullard has been charged with two counts of DWI one for operating a motor vehicle under the influence and the other for refusing to take a sobriety test.