A central Minnesota school bus driver was drunk when he ran a red light and missed stops while dropping off about 50 children, according to charges filed Wednesday.
Thomas R. Bromen, 63, of Sauk Centre, was arrested Monday and charged with three gross misdemeanor counts of drunken driving. He remains jailed in lieu of $4,000 bail with conditions.
Police said they were notified after the school district transportation office fielded three calls about Bromen’s driving. The first two calls were from day-care providers who said Bromen had failed to drop off students, and the third came from a truck driver who said the bus driver cut him off and ran a red light, according to the charges.
District Transportation Director Jon Fevig told police that he was at the district garage when Bromen stepped off the bus and admitted that he was drunk while transporting 50 or more students, the criminal complaint read.
Officers arrived and also “noticed multiple signs of impairment,” a statement from police read.
No harm came to the students, who were from all of the schools that receive district bus service: the high school, junior high, elementary school and Holy Family School.
Bromen declined to take a roadside sobriety test, but he did admit to officers that he was drunk, police said.
Police said he was given a preliminary breath test more than three hours after he reported for work that revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit for private motorists in Minnesota and four times the limit for commercial drivers.
However, the law is even more strict for bus drivers, who are breaking the law “when there is physical evidence present in the person’s body of the consumption of any alcohol,” according to the state Department of Public Safety’s bus driver training manual.
The Sauk Centre School District said in a statement that it has fired Bromen, who had driven a bus for the district for the past 6 ½ years.