Student athletes and parents around Hopkinton say they’re trying to understand how a man with a history of drunk driving could be allowed to drive a school bus full of high school cross-country runners home from a track meet on Cape Cod.
On the 18th of October, a school bus driver in Massachusetts was driving a vehicle filled with students from Hopkinton High School when one of the coaches on the bus called the police and informed them about the condition of the driver.
The caller mentioned that the bus was swerving dangerously and it was not safe for any of the kids or adults. When police officers caught up with the bus and flagged it down, they realized that the driver – 59 year old Robert E. Murphy was dead drunk. He failed a series of sobriety tests at a parking lot after the bus was stopped.
Murphy had had two previous DUI convictions before this incident. However, his license has not been revoked and he was still able to get a job as a driver for high school buses.
According to Chapter 90, Section 24 of Massachusetts State Law, a third time DUI offense is a felony and license is suspended up to eight years and the felony carries with it a sentence of 180 days in jail which is a mandatory sentence. It takes a fourth conviction for serious action to be taken, and that too if the driver is under 21.
For older drivers like Murphy, it takes five convictions for a license revocation. But even for that, several factors come into play before a hard decision can be taken.
Murphy appeared at a dangerousness hearing Tuesday where he was ordered not to drive, had his license revoked and was told he will undergo random daily alcohol screenings.