A school bus driver from South Toms River was intoxicated while driving with about 30 students on his bus, authorities said Thursday night.
Anthony Rodriguez, 64, of South Toms River, was getting ready to transport students home from the Clara B. Worth Elementary School in Bayville when school staff found that he was acting “erratically” and investigated, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. They then called police.
The bus was immediately taken off the route and approximately 30 children were transferred to another bus without incident, the statement from prosecutors said. Berkeley Township police were then promptly notified and responded. When officers arrived, they determined that the bus driver was “under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating substance,” the statement said.
As a result, Rodriguez was placed under arrest and transported to Berkeley Township police headquarters for processing. Rodriguez refused to submit to a breath test. A warrant was obtained for a blood sample to determine Rodriguez’s blood alcohol content. That sample will be tested and results are pending, according to police. Rodriguez was lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
He is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, DWI, refusing to provide a breath sample, driving while intoxicated in a school zone and reckless driving.
“Prosecutor [Bradley] Billhimer and Chief [Karin] DiMichele would like to thank the administrators and staff at Clara B. Worth Elementary School for their attentiveness in responding quickly and immediately notifying the police,” the statement said.