Bus driver accused of drinking beer before his route

Posted: Updated:

Orangetown police say a bus driver was pulled over and arrested Wednesday for allegedly drinking a beer just before his afternoon route.

According to a Spring Valley resident, James Pruitt purchased beer at the Pearl River Shop Rite and then proceeded to drink at least one beer while leaning against the bus in the parking lot. There were no children aboard the bus while Pruitt drank the alcohol, but police say he picked students up from Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey just afterward.

He was almost finished with his afternoon route when police pulled him over on Railroad Avenue. There was one student left on the bus, and none of the children he transported were injured.

Pruitt passed a sobriety test given to him by police, but the cops who pulled him over said they could smell alcohol on his breath.

"This was a surprise to us," the manager of the bus company says. "Pruitt had a clean record and worked for us for two years. He is no longer with the company."

Pruitt was charged with an alcohol-related violation and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on bail.

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