By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne bus driver who was arrested for driving under the influence while transporting students to South Dakota has lost his commercial drivers license, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Meanwhile, David Richard Williams now faces charges of child endangerment in addition to a charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to the mother of one of the students who was on Williams’ bus.
The FMCSA disqualified David Richard Williams, 60, earlier this month from holding a CDL after determining that the Cheyenne bus driver constitutes an “imminent hazard” to public safety. The department also ordered him to immediately cease operating any commercial motor vehicle.
Williams was served with the order on March 16, one month after he was arrested for DUI outside of Hawk Springs.
Prior to the February arrest, Williams had no violations on his driving record, the Wyoming Department of Transportation told Cowboy State Daily.
Williams was arrested by a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper in February while transporting Laramie County School District No. 1 students to a speech and debate tournament in Spearfish, South Dakota.
He was stopped, failed a field sobriety test and was then arrested. His breath test showed Williams had a blood-alcohol concentration of around 0.15%, significantly higher than the level of 0.04% allowed for a commercial motor vehicle driver and almost twice the level of 0.08% at which the driver of a regular vehicle is considered intoxicated.
In-vehicle video showed Williams to be drinking alcohol both before and while driving the students, according to the FMCSA.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, drivers with a commercial driver’s license are subject to a variety of prohibitions on the use of alcohol prior to and while driving CMVs, including a prohibition on using any alcohol within four hours of driving and a prohibition on driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or greater.
Williams is now listed as prohibited from holding a CDL in FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and faces a number of possible criminal charges.
Jessica Lyday and Johanna Thomas, whose children were on the trip to Spearfish, intended to press charges against Williams for child endangerment, they told Cowboy State Daily in February.
Thomas told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that she joined a group of LCSD1 speech and debate parents who asked the Goshen County district attorney to charge Williams with reckless endangerment and child endangerment.
“They told us they added child endangerment and reckless endangerment charges to him according to the kids’ ages,” Thomas told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “Then they said he opted for a jury trial. That was the last I heard, and that was about a month ago.”
Lyday did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment Tuesday.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard disqualification order states that Williams’ “blatant violations of the [regulations] and disregard for the safety of your school-age passengers and other highway users demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”
LCSD1 officials have declined to comment on the situation with Williams, citing personnel reasons. However, the district has implemented new mandatory drug and alcohol awareness training following Williams’ arrest.
The annual recertification class will become part of the training that existing bus drivers are required to take every August during their three-day in-service training prior to the start of the school year.