EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – A 62-year-old man from East Liverpool is expected in court on Tuesday after police said he was driving a school bus full of students while intoxicated.
Quick action by East Liverpool boys basketball coaches and other adults kept players safe on Saturday while the team was headed to Carrollton for a game.
According to a police report, shortly after the team left East Liverpool High School, coaches urged bus driver Donald Goodwin to pull over after they said he smelled like alcohol and was “exhibiting abnormal behavior.”
The coaches said Goodwin took a bend too fast, according to the report.
He stopped the bus at Westgate Middle School, where coaches said he laid his head on the steering wheel and that his eyes were glassy.
“They went to the hospital. They had a portable breathalyzer test and they offered that to him, plus, he had his blood drawn. Both indicated he was over the legal limit for a commercial driver,” said East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane.
Goodwin told police he had been drinking the night before but did not have anything to drink prior to picking up the students. He said he quit drinking around 1:30 a.m. and went to bed.
He also could not complete a field sobriety test, the report said.
A substitute driver drove the team to the game.
Goodwin was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless operation and endangering children. The school district fired him.
On Monday, parents in East Liverpool got an automated call from Superintendent Jonathan Ludwig that said, in part:
Words cannot express my heartfelt gratitude to the coaches, transportation director and substitute bus driver who all acted quickly in the name of the safety of the students on the bus. We are extremely proud of their response.”
Ludwig declined an interview.
The police chief said there is something to take away from this, though.
“You just don’t take anything for granted. You’d assume someone driving a busload full of kids would be in the proper mindset to do the job but here, somebody wasn’t,” Lane said.
A criminal investigation is pending.