Responding to reports of a weaving New York City bus Sunday afternoon, state police stopped the vehicle and charged the operator with driving while intoxicated -- on his day off.
State police received several calls at about 2 p.m. that the bus was traveling erratically on the Northern State Parkway in Nassau County.
A Farmingdale trooper pulled over the bus and while interviewing the driver, Alexander Copeland, 52, of Medford, detected a strong odor of alcohol, according to state police. Copeland subsequently failed a sobriety test and was charged with driving while intoxicated, police said.
He was also charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and unauthorized use of a vehicle without the owner's consent -- after the trooper learned that Sunday was Copeland's day off.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the bus he used was parked on the street because the city doesn't have enough room to hold all the vehicles at Jamaica Depot. Ortiz said the MTA bought property in the area and plans on building a new depot that will be able to house all the buses when they're not in use.
Ortiz also said Copeland has been suspended without pay with additional disciplinary action forthcoming. He has been with the MTA since 1998.
At a news conference Tuesday, Copeland's attorneys declined to go into details about the case but stressed the charges against him were only allegations at this time. They said the allegations would be addressed "when the time is right."
Copeland didn't speak at the news conference. He was released on a desk appearance ticket after his arrest and is expected to be arraigned later this month.