PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police have charged a school bus driver for driving under the influence of alcohol with more than a dozen kids on the bus. The children were on their way to parochial school last month.
On June 6, 68-year-old Martin Hehman, a school bus driver for Monark Transportation, picked up 15 students and delivered them to St. Ursula Catholic School in Allison Park.
Minutes later, on Route 8 northbound, a school bus was observed being driven erratically.
A Hampton Township Police officer intercepted the bus at the Wildwood Road intersection.
According to the officer, the driver – identified as Hehman, was allegedly impaired – slurring his words, had poor balance and smelled like alcohol.
Hehman failed several field sobriety tests, was arrested and taken for blood alcohol tests.
The lab results came back June 16. Hehman’s blood alcohol level was .138. The standard legal limit is .08, and the limit for a school bus driver is .02.
The president of Monark Transportation did not return calls.
But the Pine-Richland School District, which contracts with Monark to transport parochial school students, said in part:
“We are very concerned about a situation involving a driver of one of our parochial school bus runs and have been in contact with Monark Student Transportation. They have taken action.”
Hehman was not at home.
But the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese just learned of the DUI incident this morning, even though it was their children on the bus and the information came to them from the media.
“It was more than a surprise. I think we almost take on the feelings of a parent at this time who would want to know this. And so, we’re not only surprised, we are disappointed,” said Fr. Ron Lengwin, spokesman for the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese. “We would have thought that someone would have contacted us. If not the school district, they may have had good reasons. I just don’t know that because it’s just unfolding now or even the police.
Hehman will face charges of drunken driving and 15 counts of endangering the welfare on children.