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School bus driver accused of DUI suspended from job

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

A school bus driver arrested for allegedly driving under the influence with students on board has now been suspended without pay from the school district he drives for.

Fifteen lives were in the hands of a school bus driver, arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. Now the fate of that man's job is in the hands of school officials.

While 41-year-old Jesse Patrick Jr. sits behind bars at the Powell County Jail, the Powell County School Board has now reacted to an incident that took place on Saturday.

"Right now he is suspended without pay pending a full investigation and obviously depending on what that investigation turns up will depend whether he'll be terminated or not", says superintendent Evelyn Neely.

This comes after authorities say Patrick hit a guardrail on the way to a cross country team meet in another county. They say on the way home he was swerving. Police were called to the high school by the coach who was on the bus with students.

The driver, Jesse Patrick, was arrested after authorities say he failed a field sobriety test and admitted to taking a painkiller before the trip.

The school board is looking into this incident but say all bus drivers are drug tested.

"We do random drug testing each month with our bus drivers so they don't know what day or who will be chosen", says Evelyn Neely.

Superintendent Evelyn Neely says earlier this school year Jesse Patrick also clipped the taillight of a vehicle parked on a narrow road. They say in that case it was an accident.

School officials say they are looking at their policies to prevent further incidents.

"Seeing if there's any way we can make them more stringent to make sure we don't have this happen again", says Evelyn Neely.

As for Jesse Patrick, he remains behind bars at the Powell County Jail. Police have charged him with DUI, and 15 counts of wanton endangerment for every person on the school bus.


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