BIXBY, Okla. — A Bixby Public Schools bus driver is in custody for allegedly driving drunk with students on board, according to the Bixby Police Department.
The Bixby Police Department has identified the bus driver as 64-year-old Donny Cheatham.
After receiving reports on the bus route running late, the district transportation director met with Cheatham when he returned to the lot, officials said. The director detected the smell of alcohol on Cheatham, causing him to be "immediately escorted to a facility for drug and alcohol screening."
Officials say test results showed that Cheatham had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
Cheatham had driven both elementary and secondary students on the route Thursday morning which began at 7:15 a.m. and ended at 8:45 a.m., officials said. All of the students arrived safely to their school sites and the families of students are being notified about the situation.
Officials say the bus driver was arrested at the transportation facility sometime after noon.
Cheatham has been booked into the Tulsa County Jail, according to Bixby police. He will be charged with public intoxication and child endangerment.
Police say Cheatham's blood alcohol level was .14 while the legal limit is .08 in Oklahoma.
The district attorney will decide if Cheatham will be charged with 77 counts of child endangerment, because there were 77 students on his bus route Thursday morning, police said.
Police say his court date has been set for March 5.
Rob Miller, the superintendent of Bixby Public Schools, released a statement regarding the incident:
The driver has been dismissed from employment with Bixby Schools. I am deeply sorry that our children and families have been impacted by this terrible lack of judgment on the part of a Bixby employee. Keeping our students safe is the most important responsibility we have as school employees. As the Superintendent of Schools, and as a parent and grandparent, I fully understand the potential emotional impact this may have on students, family, and staff. Supports will be made available for students as necessary. It is our goal to be transparent regarding these types of incidents and we will immediately review our policies and protocols to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent this from happening in the future.
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