Chantilly, VA – A school bus driver who crashed while transporting a load of students home from a field trip to a pumpkin patch on Thursday was found to have a blood-alcohol level more than two times above the legal limit, according to police.
The driver, 48-year-old Troy Reynolds, was taking four adults and 44 students back to Ben Murch Elementary in DC after a trip to Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia on Oct. 27 when he suddenly veered off of the roadway, WTOP reported.
Police said the bus hit a rock and blew out a rear tire before staff members aboard the bus were able to convince Reynolds to pull into a nearby parking lot.
The staffers then called 911, WTOP reported.
Investigators said nine children suffered minor injuries when the bus went off the roadway, according to WUSA.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD), officers arrived at the scene and immediately noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the bus driver, WTOP reported.
Subsequent testing revealed his blood-alcohol content was 0.20, which is two-and-one-half times the legal limit.
Reynolds, who has a prior DWI conviction, was arrested on charges of DWI and child endangerment, WTOP reported.
He was ordered to be held without bond.
Because he had a prior DWI conviction within the past 10 years, Reynolds was not legally able to operate a bus in Virginia in the first place, FCPD Captain Rachel Levy told WJLA.
“His privilege to drive in the state of Virginia, I believe, has been revoked,” Capt. Levy said.
Police said they also cited a second bus driver who was on the field trip for not having a valid commercial driving license, WTOP reported.
After Reynolds was arrested, a third driver showed up to help transport the students back to school, but that driver also wound up being cited for not having proper licensure to drive a bus, according to police.
Two other busses that were part of the field trip but were not being driven by Reynolds were taken out of service by police due to safety violations, WJLA reported.
The buses had been chartered from Rome Charters LLC.
Emergency medical personnel evaluated all of the students and school staff members who were involved in the incident, according to WUSA.
No one was in need of treatment, to include the nine students who suffered minor injuries, WRC reported.
The students and staff members were ultimately taken to a police training facility while alternate travel arrangements were made, according to WTOP.
Investigators said they did not locate any alcohol on the school bus.
DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee released a statement calling the situation an “isolated traffic incident.”
Ferebee thanked the staff members and law enforcement officers who helped keep the students safe during the ordeal.
“DCPS takes this incident very seriously, and our teams will do a thorough review of our transportation vendors to ensure that student safety is always prioritized,” the chancellor said. “We are incredibly thankful that no one sustained injuries during this frightening incident.”