A school bus driver was arrested Wednesday after he crashed a bus into a ditch while allegedly driving under the influence in Washington County, Oregon.
“When deputies arrived they found the school bus in a ditch with 12 occupants on the bus; the 20-year-old driver, Jonathan C. Gates of Hillsboro, an adult bus aid, and ten children between the ages of ten and sixteen,” a press release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office read.
The statement continued:
Deputies determined there were no injuries to the occupants of the bus, and the children aboard were students from Forest Grove School District. Deputies discovered Mr. Gates appeared to be impaired, and he was arrested for DUI-controlled substance. Mr. Gates was transported to the Washington County Jail where he cooperated with investigators. Mr. Gates was later issued a citation in lieu of custody and released.
Surveillance footage taken from across the street shows the moment the bus veers off the side of the road and into the ditch on Old Highway 47 near Seghers Road.
Wednesday, the sheriff’s office tweeted the video of the crash.
Media Release: School Bus Driver Arrested for DUII After a Crash with 10 Children Aboard
— WCSO Oregon (@WCSOOregon) November 13, 2019
Video footage taken from inside the vehicle shows students grabbing onto the seats and screaming as Gates drives the bus off the pavement.
Once it comes to a halt, the driver is heard saying “I am so sorry, I am so sorry,” as the adult aid goes to the back to check on the young passengers.
A spokesperson for the Mid-Columbia Bus Company said Gates has been suspended from his job and will be required to take a drug test while the crash is under investigation.
Authorities stated that the charges are pending until the results of the test can be confirmed.
However, a student who was on the bus called Gates a “really nice man” adding that he checked on her and her classmates once it had stopped.
“From where I was sitting, it just kinda looked like he took the turn too quickly and the bus kinda did its own thing and went off into the ditch. He handled the bus quite well, making sure it did not tip,” she commented.
School district spokesperson David Warner said an incident like it had never occurred during his years with the district.
“In my time here, I’ve never seen something like this before. Obviously, the safety of our students is top priority for our district, and we’re very grateful none of them were injured. That’s first and foremost the most important thing,” he concluded.