Who’s Watching the Kids? School Employees Charged with DUI

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When parents send their kids to school, they expect that competent and sober adults will care for them.

However, sometimes these expectations are not met. The stories below highlight recent cases of a school bus driver and a teacher charged with DUI. Most shocking is the school bus driver, as students were aboard the bus while he was reportedly driving with a very high blood alcohol content. The teacher charged with DUI was likely on school vacation when the incident occurred, but if guilty as charged, has demonstrated poor judgment.

School Bus Driver Arrested for DUI

Approximately 104 elementary school students in Franklin, Ind., told their parents they had a scary ride home from school this week. The students said their school bus driver was weaving and hit a mailbox while delivering them to their homes on March 3.

Alarmed by what the children said happened, concerned parents called the school police. Later, Phillip K. Leslie, 47, was found at the school district's transportation center. According to a MSNBC report, he was slumped over the steering wheel of the bus when police arrived. Leslie, a retired firefighter, began driving the bus for the school district at the beginning of the school year. He had completed two afternoon bus routes that day.

Leslie reportedly had trouble opening the bus door for police. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Police say a breath test measured his blood alcohol content to be .22.

He was charged with DUI, DUI with children in the vehicle, felony neglect and public intoxication and bail was set at $75,000. School district officials have announced they will seek to terminate his employment immediately.

Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Felony DUI Charge

A middle school teacher in Idaho has pleaded not guilty to felony DUI. Jonah J. Torseth, 33, was charged with felony aggravated DUI after allegedly striking a pedestrian with his car on Dec. 30.

Torseth faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and a minimum of 30 days behind bars if convicted of felony DUI. Idaho Mountain News reported his DUI lawyer has requested a drunk driving jury trial.

In a strange twist in the case, Judge Robert J. Elgee, who presided over Torseth's arraignment, removed himself from the case, and said that Judge Barry Wood will have to set the trial date. Torseth reportedly stepped aside because of a disqualification motion filed against him by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.


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