September 16, 2014

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A quarter of Cincy bus drivers had arrests

CINCINNATI — Nearly a quarter of the city’s public school bus drivers have been arrested since 1991, including at least 50 charged with violent crimes, records show.

Of the 458 drivers, 111 have been arrested on 242 charges, including six drunken driving charges, 12 drug charges and 25 domestic violence charges, according to records compiled by Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann.

Often, the charges were dismissed or amended to less-serious offenses. None of the cases involved felonies or sex charges, he said.

One driver was convicted of drunken driving in 2003, which should make him ineligible to drive a school bus. Other convictions for charges including drug abuse, domestic violence and drug trafficking also can disqualify drivers.

“I can definitely say if we find any disqualifying conviction, then those drivers will be pulled from their route,” said Dawn Grady, a district spokeswoman.

The district relies on three bus companies to take more than 33,000 students a day to private, charter and the district’s own schools.

The district completes a statewide check on all drivers every two years and local background checks twice a year.

The county’s criminal records are stored in Hartmann’s office, which created an instant notification system this year to check the background of foster parents.

The district was the first to take up Hartmann’s offer to extend the checks to drivers’ names.