NATIONAL NEWS

West Virginia bus driver charged with DUI after crash sends multiple children to the hospital

Mar 5, 2024, 7:44 AM | Updated: 8:12 am

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia bus driver was arrested Monday for driving under the influence after a crash that sent multiple injured students to the hospital, state police said.

Jeffrey Brannon, 54, was charged with multiple counts of driving while intoxicated and child neglect resulting in injury, State Police Capt. Robert Maddy said in a Tuesday press release.

Police were called to the scene of a school bus crash at 6 p.m. Monday on West Virginia Route 16 in Calhoun County, according to Maddy. Brannon lost control of the bus off the right edge of the roadway and overcorrected, causing the bus to roll over on its side in the middle of Route 16, officials said.

Nineteen students were on the Calhoun County school system bus at the time. Several were transported to area hospitals to be treated for injuries, Maddy said. One child suffered a vertebrae fracture and another had a concussion, according to a criminal complaint filed in Calhoun County Magistrate Court.

The full number and extent of injuries is not known.

Brannon was inside the bus when state police arrived and “began yelling and acting aggressive,” Trooper Cpl. Brian Young wrote in the complaint. When Young went to take Brannon’s statement, he said smelled alcohol on Brannon’s breath and asked if he’d been drinking. Brannon said yes, according to Young.

A field breath test produced a 0.161% blood alcohol level. Another test at the Grantsville State Police Detachment showed a blood alcohol level of 0.127%. The legal limit in West Virginia is 0.08%.

Bond at Calhoun County Magistrate Court was set for $250,000 and Brannon was transported to the Central Regional Jail, Maddy said. Contact information for Brannon was not immediately available Tuesday. It was unclear in court records whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

A phone and email message left with the Calhoun County Schools superintendent’s office was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Police are still investigating.

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