Boozing Bus Driver Busted

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 2:31pm

Man was six times over legal limit when he crashed school bus.

An Ohio school bus driver has been fired after a crash Thursday evening in Sharonville.

Police arrested 61-year-old John Dahlheimer and charged him with operating a vehicle under the influence, child endangerment, possession of drugs and having an open container.

Officers said Dahlheimer was behind the wheel of a Northwest Local school bus when he crashed about 6:30 p.m. into two parked, unoccupied trucks pulling trailers.

An off-duty Lincoln Heights police officer witnessed the crash and said Dahlheimer was continuing to accelerate when he crashed into the trucks.

Dahlheimer had just dropped off 33 students from the Colerain High School band and four adults prior to the crash, investigators said.

Police said Dahlheimer consented to a Breathalyzer test and registered a 0.229 blood-alcohol level, nearly six times the legal limit of 0.04 for commercial drivers.

Officers said they found a large bottle of Jagermeister liqueur nearly empty inside a cooler on the bus and some Darvocet and Klonopin mixed inside a container.

Police said they suspect Dahlheimer was also under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the crash.

Dahlheimer was cited and released, but police said he could face additional charges.

Rick Glatfelter, the superintendent of Northwest Local Schools, said the district does periodic background checks on its bus drivers, but no convictions showed up for Dahlheimer.

He was, however, on probation following an incident when a bag containing unopened cans of beer were found on his bus.

At the time Dahlheimer told school officials that he'd meant to bring canned soda to work, but grabbed the wrong bag.

The Ohio Board of Education requires background checks for all new drivers, but a follow up is only required every six years.

"This bus driver is no representative of other bus drivers in our fleet," Glatfelter said.

According to Hamilton County Municipal Court records, Dahlheimer was convicted of drunken driving in 1992.

Police noted that Dahlheimer likely could not have consumed as much alcohol as they suspect he did in a short time.

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