FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Police said three school bus drivers failed and endangered a group of D.C. elementary students on a field trip to Cox Farms Thursday.
One of the drivers was reported to be two and a half times over the legal limit for alcohol in his blood. Two additional bus drivers were also cited for not having valid commercial licenses.
Officers with the Fairfax County Police Department responded to the incident involving a school bus that was transporting children from Murch Elementary in D.C. Thursday afternoon.
Police claim the students were returning from a field trip at Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia, when the driver drove off the road and struck a rock, which damaged his rim and flattened his rear tire.
Staff members on the bus noticed the bus driver having problems after he ran off the road, flattened his tire and kept driving. They were eventually able to get the bus driver to stop in a parking lot in the 1500 block of Conference Center Drive and Chantilly and call 911.
The school bus was carrying 44 children and four adults. A second school bus involved in the field trip stopped with the damaged bus.
Children and chaperones were all checked by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel.
Police say nine children of the 44 on the bus had minor injuries.
The children were then transported to the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy in Chantilly.
In a post on Twitter regarding the incident, DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee called the incident "isolated." Ferebee also promised a thorough review of transportation vendors to prioritize student safety.
Troy Reynolds, 48, of Oxon Hill, M.D. drove the bus that went off the road. Responding officers say Reynolds smelled like alcohol. Reynolds was arrested for driving while intoxicated and transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
While at the jail, Reynolds was tested and had a blood alcohol content of 0.20. The legal limit for BAC in Virginia is 0.08.
Reynolds was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Reckless Care of a Child. He is being held on no bond.
Detectives say Reynolds has already been barred from driving in Virginia due to a previous DUI. He also does not have a valid commercial license.
Investigators inspected both buses involved in the field trip and placed those buses out of service for safety violations.
Friday morning WUSA9 went to Murch Elementary School to talk to parents. Many parents did not want to go on the record, but told our Matt Gregory they were shocked and disappointed.
"Obviously it’s shocking, we sort of assume there is a culture of safety and in a community that cares for each other for someone to have done something like this-it's like a breach of trust," one father said.
The same father also show a different view on the incident.
“However, (and) I'm not saying he did anything right, he did a whole lot of wrong," he said. "But I think we should all have a little bit of empathy for even people with problems, right?"