A school bus driver was arraigned Friday morning after police said he crashed a bus with 11 students on board while driving drunk on Thursday afternoon in Dudley, Massachusetts.
Police responded around 3 p.m. to find the bus on Hayden Pond Road with wires from a utility pole on its roof. None of the children were injured. All of them were taken from the area by another bus shortly after the crash, Dudley Police Chief Steve Wojnar confirmed.
Police spoke with the driver, 42-year-old Scott Poirier of Dudley, and determined that he was drunk. He was arrested after failing field sobriety tests and charged with operating under the influence.
He faces charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and eight counts of child endangerment while operating under the influence. The bus company that employs him, First Student, said it has already initiated the protocol to terminate him.
Poirier appeared in court Friday morning and was released on personal recognizance bail, despite a request from prosecutors for $50,000 cash bail. He was ordered to have a GPS monitoring device installed and not to have any contact with children except his two sons.
It was not immediately clear if Poirier had an attorney.
Wojnar described the crash as "minor," saying preliminary investigation shows that the bus backed into a utility pole, causing damage to the pole.
"You put your kids on the bus, and you expect them to be safe," said Tracy Donais, whose daughter had been on the bus.
"It's kind of surprising," said that girl's father, Andrew Donais. "Right after our daughter gets off the bus, right down the road, the bus driver has an accident. It's just surprising."
Power was knocked out to 280 customers in the area, National Grid said. It was expected to be returned Thursday night.
School officials said they're reviewing the incident as well, and that Poirer is employed by First Student, a company with which the district has a transportation contract.
In a statement, Dudley-Charlton School Superintendent Gregg Desto called the situation "exceptionally rare."
"There has never been a similar incident in the 43 years we have been a district," he added.
Poirier is scheduled to return to court on March 31.