Bus driver accused of DWI is fired

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 2, 2009 - 8:29 PM

Metro Transit said it dismissed the driver on March 23 for "gross misconduct."

A Metro Transit bus driver arrested on suspicion of driving drunk in his bus last month has been fired, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

Alonzo V. Martin faces two misdemeanor counts after his Route 5 bus swerved all over the road between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center on March 21, prompting witnesses to call the police. Martin, 46, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.24, six times the legal limit for commercial drivers, and tried to hide a can of beer, police said.

Martin, who was hired last year, didn't work after his arrest and was discharged March 23 for "gross misconduct" in three areas, said Bob Gibbons, spokesman for Metro Transit.

Gibbons said that the misconduct involved a violation of the Metropolitan Council's drug and alcohol policy, falsification of an employment application and falsification of statements to a manager's inquiry.

"When we interviewed him ... he made statements that the manager felt were not consistent with the facts," Gibbons said about the third issue.

Although Metro Transit says the incident is a first in its history, the agency has convened a task force to study its hiring and employment rules related to substance abuse and driving records. Martin had a history of traffic violations, and the agency is researching whether its three-year background check on all applicants should have disqualified him.

Gibbons would not specify what was falsified on Martin's application, but said the agency does its own background checks. The six-day period in which Martin could file a grievance over his discharge has passed with no action on his part, Gibbons said.

A woman who answered the phone at Martin's home in St. Paul on Thursday said she had no information and hung up.

JAMES ELI SHIFFER

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