Police: Local bus driver accused of driving drunk with 13 children on board

GILBOA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police said a bus driver in Cobleskill is being accused of driving drunk while children were on board, headed home from school.

According to police, 42-year-old Daniel Mowers, of Delhi, was arrested on February 22 for felony Driving While Intoxicated, 12 counts of felony Leandra’s Law, and 13 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a misdemeanor.

New York State Police said they responded to the Gilboa School bus garage after a concerned parent, whose child was dropped off the bus operated by Mowers, called Gilboa-Conesville Central School District Superintendent Ruth Reeve.

The child had reported to the parent that the bus was being operated erratically.

“Relief that nobody was hurt; disappointment,” Reeve said. “Just, it’s scary, and I’m just very pleased that nobody was hurt.”

While interviewing Mowers, troopers said they detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. Mowers failed sobriety tests performed at the bus garage and was placed under arrest for being intoxicated while operating the school bus.

Police said the bus was occupied by 13 students during his bus run, and 12 were age appropriate for Leandra’s Law.

There were no students left on the bus at the garage during the arrest. They were coming from an after school program.

Stephanie Bruck’s 5-year-old twins came home on the bus Monday night. She initially thought everything was normal.

“They love riding the bus,” she said. “They’ve been very excited about school and the bus in general.”

But then she learned police accused their driver of being drunk at the time.

“I don’t know that I’ve processed it fully, yet,” Bruck said. “It’s been emotional. I’m glad everyone got home unharmed. I wouldn’t say safely since they weren’t in a safe situation.”

Mowers was transported to the Cobleskill barracks where he registered a blood alcohol content of .12 percent. He was arraigned in the Town of Broome Court, and bail was set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

Bruck said Mowers should have been stopped before he ever started driving kids home.

“It scares me a little bit that he was able to get on a bus to drive in the first place,” she said. “You send your children to school and trust that they will be taken care of and put all of your trust in the people down there and hope for the best.”

Reeve could not comment on the status of Mowers’s employment.

Mowers was remanded to the Schoharie County Jail and is scheduled to return to the Town of Gilboa Court on a later date.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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