8 bus drivers found to have DUI convictions



COLUMBUS (AP) -- Private companies that handle some of the bus service for the city's school district are removing eight drivers from their routes after investigations found they had previous convictions for driving under the influence, school officials said Tuesday.
The school system told the companies to look more deeply at their drivers' records after one contractor found last week that it had not completed criminal background checks on its drivers, said Michael Fulwider, a district spokesman..
The discovery by Cincinnati-based First Student Inc. followed the arrest of one of its Columbus drivers on a charge of cocaine possession, and it led the company to ground its Columbus fleet Thursday. That forced the district, as well as private schools that depend on the buses, to cancel classes for the day.
Police said they found a syringe partially filled with a substance that tested positive for cocaine when they pulled over a bus driven by Lawrence Battle, 53, on Jan. 23.
First Student last week identified two more drivers with DUI records, and all three were taken off their routes, Fulwider said.
This week, the other bus contractors removed additional drivers found to have previous drunken-driving convictions -- three from W.C. Brunk Inc., and one each from Community Bus Services Inc. and V.A.T Inc., he said.

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