WASHINGTON - A D.C. Public Schools bus driver was under the influence of alcohol Thursday when he crashed a school bus carrying a group of elementary school students and their teachers.
According to Fairfax County police, Troy Reynolds, 48, picked up 44 students and four teachers from Ben Murch Elementary School from a field trip at Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia.
While driving drunk, police said Reynolds drove off the road, crashed into a rock, and damaged the vehicle's rim and tire. Two students bumped their heads on the back of seats on the bus, however, no serious injuries were reported.
Teachers on the bus had to force Reynolds to stop driving.
Once he did, he stopped at a parking lot in Chantilly, Virginia. When authorities arrived, the students were transported to the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy where their parents were notified of the incident.
Reynolds' blood alcohol content was .20, which is .12 higher than the legal limit in Virginia.
FOX 5’s Melanie Alnwick discovered that after police arrived they found Reynolds did not have a commercial driver’s license and that he had a prior DWI charge. Two additional buses that stopped along with the bus Reynolds was driving were taken out of service after safety violations were found. The drivers of those buses also did not have their commercial driver’s licenses.
DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee released a statement on the matter thanking Murch Elementary teachers and staff who ensured the students' safety on their field trip.
"All children were evaluated by emergency medical services following the incident and there are no injuries reported," he wrote. "We appreciate the support of Fairfax County law enforcement, who are welcoming students at a nearby training facility as they await transportation back to the school. We will do a thorough review of our transportation vendors to ensure that student safety is always prioritized. We are incredibly thankful that no one sustained injuries during this frightening incident."
Murch Elementary's Principal Chris Cebrzynsk sent a letter home to families acknowledging that the incident could be "distressing for our scholars."
"We will also connect students with our school counseling team to provide additional support if needed," Cebrzynsk wrote. "In addition, DCPS is in contact with the bus charter service and other agencies to investigate the cause of the accident. DCPS takes this incident extremely seriously, and our teams will conduct a thorough review of our transportation vendors to ensure that student safety is always prioritized … Our students' safety and well-being are paramount whether they are in our building or attending any authorized activity or field trip."
Reynolds was arrested by Fairfax County police and faces multiple counts of commercial DWI with child endangerment. He's currently being held in jail without bond.