Bennett Middle Students Stranded After Charter Bus Driver Arrest - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bennett Middle Students Stranded After Charter Bus Driver Arrested for DUI

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A charter bus is parked along the side of the road in Trappe, Md. while students from Bennett Middle School wait for a new driver. (Photo: WBOC) A charter bus is parked along the side of the road in Trappe, Md. while students from Bennett Middle School wait for a new driver. (Photo: WBOC)

TRAPPE, Md.- A commercial bus driver transporting a group of students from Bennett Middle School in Salisbury back from a field trip was arrested by Maryland State Police on Wednesday night in Talbot County and charged with driving under the influence.

Police identified the driver as 45-year-old Joseph R. Johnson of Dover, Del. 

Police said that at around 5:30 p.m., troopers from the Easton Barrack received a 911 call from a citizen who was following a commercial bus eastbound on Route 50 and said the bus was weaving all over the road.  As troopers were en route to intercept the bus, another call was received from a parent chaperone on the bus. According to police, the parent said that due to the bus driver’s erratic driving, the adults on the bus had insisted he pull to the shoulder and wait for the troopers to arrive. 

The charter bus, owned by Dawson Tour Bus Services, Inc., of Camden, Delaware, stopped on eastbound Route 50 west of Porpoise Creek Road, in Trappe.

Upon arrival, the trooper conducted an investigation and based on observations and evidence, took Johnson into custody.  He was taken to the Easton Barrack for additional testing and was ultimately charged with DUI. Police said additional charges may be placed as the investigation continues.  

According to police, the driver had been transporting 30 children and 10 adults back to Bennett Middle.  The students were returning from a field trip to Calvert Cliffs.

A sober driver from the commercial bus company was summoned to the scene, according to police. While the children were waiting, a trooper assigned to the Aviation Command treated them all to pizza he purchased and delivered to the scene along the shoulder of Route 50.

Tracy Sahler, a spokeswoman for Wicomico County Public Schools, released a statement saying the students were safe and awaiting another bus driver to arrive to drive them back to Bennett Middle. Sahler added that parents were notified of the late arrival time by an automated call from the school.  No one was injured in this incident.

A spokesperson for Dawson Bus Services told WBOC the company is waiting for more information from Maryland State police and that the company is conducting its own internal investigation into the incident.

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