Driving under the influence of alcohol is the most common DUI charge, however you can also receive a DUI if you’re under the influence of prescription or even over-the-counter medications, though it’s usually the misuse of these medications, not the recommended or prescribed dosage.
Driving under the influence isn’t just a problem for drivers of normal passenger cars. Unfortunately, some drivers tasked with transporting children, some of the most vulnerable people, get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. Although this is a very concerning issue, sometimes drivers are wrongfully accused or are excessively and unreasonably punished.
If you were charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, call the Law Offices of Steven Kellis today. Continue reading to learn about some of the worst cases of school bus drivers driving under the influence.
Drunk in Florida
In July 2022, Mark McNeill (60), a school bus driver in Flagler County, Florida was recently given an 18-month prison sentence after being arrested for driving under the influence while transporting students on February 9, 2022.
When McNeill arrived for his shift, took a bus that wasn’t assigned to him, then proceeded to travel his normal afternoon route, picking up 40 middle school students to take them to their respective bus stops.
A coworker allegedly smelled alcohol on his breath and notified their supervisors. As McNeill was driving the students, he ignored radio calls from authorities asking him to pull over.
A school employee drove to search for the bus, located it, and began following McNeill. McNeill eventually stopped the bus, fell as he was exiting, and complained that he couldn’t breathe and was having a medical emergency.
He was taken to a hospital, where he was apprehended by police. According to the police, at the time of his arrest McNeill’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.32 and 0.3– four times the legal limit of 0.08.
McNeill was allegedly drunk when he appeared at his plea and sentencing on June 13, 2022; he told the judge he was “impaired” but provided no additional details or explanation. His hearing was continued, and on July 11, 2022, he pleaded no contest to the charges of neglect of a child, driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher or being accompanied in the vehicle by a person under the age of 18, and resisting an officer without violence.
McNeill was ultimately found guilty of all charges and sentenced to state prison for 18 months.
Prescription Pills in Utah
On October 13, 2014, a Utah school bus driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI when she was driving erratically and nearly hit another vehicle, all while 67 elementary school students and their chaperons were on board for a field trip.
According to authorities with the Utah Highway Patrol, Lycia Martinez (39) was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of prescription anti-anxiety/muscle-relaxer pills which were found in her handbag.
A parent on the bus and other witnesses on the highway noticed the swerving bus was repeatedly failing to stay within the carpool lane and called 911 to report the incident. Utah Highway Patrol pulled the bus over on an Interstate 15 off-ramp in Draper. They had traveled approximately 40 miles before the incident.
Thankfully, no one on the bus was injured and no other vehicles were struck before officers pulled the bus over. With a 75 mile per hour speed limit and five separate lanes of traffic, school authorities and law enforcement say that they were very lucky because the outcome could have been much worse.
The fifth- and sixth-graders were from various schools in the area and were being transported to a student council conference at Brigham Young University.
Martinez was placed on administrative leave while the investigation ensued. She ultimately pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor of driving under the influence.
Drunk in Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, the Keystone State isn’t exempt from this list. In 2019, 44-year-old Lori Ann Mankos of Walnutport was charged with child endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol, and careless and reckless driving when she drove her bus with 35 students on board.
According to CBS Pittsburgh, Mankos pulled over into a Sunoco parking lot, went inside and gave her keys to the Sunoco attendant, and left. The Sunoco employee called the authorities and waited with the bus until school officials and the police arrived.
Mankos was later found and arrested at her home. The DUI charge was ultimately dropped by the District Attorney’s office.
These are Extreme Cases, But Charges Aren’t Always Justified
At Kellis Law, we know the laws surrounding Pennsylvania DUI cases. With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Kellis diligently defends the rights of his clients. More importantly, he has enjoyed a high level of success in having charges significantly reduced or even dismissed.
If you or a loved one has been accused of an alcohol-related incident, we are here and we are on your side.
When you call, we will ask all the right questions. Those questions will help Mr. Kellis in determining the best way to help you and your case. Contact us by using the contact form here on the site or calling. Our Pennsylvania DUI lawyers are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.