Bixby Public Schools said a bus driver was fired and arrested by officers after he was caught with alcohol in his system shortly after he finished transporting students.
“As a parent and grandparent, I really apologize to our families about any emotional impact that this may have on their children or on the sense of safety the students have on Bixby," said Superintendent Rob Miller.
According to BPS, the driver, Donnie Cheatham, was met immediately after they received reports of the bus running behind schedule. Officials said he was escorted to a facility for drug and alcohol screening. After testing confirmed Cheatham had alcohol in his system, officials said they have "dismissed" him from employment with the school.
Cheatham was arrested by school resource officers who were involved with the investigation, according to BPS.
BPS said "no additional incidents were reported involving the driver and students."
According to Miller, Cheatham had been with the district for a year and had no previous issues.
Police said Cheatham could face up to 72 counts of child endangerment. Police also said that since officers did not see Cheatham driving, he will be facing charges of public intoxication instead of driving under the influence.
Miller said the bus had a GPS and surveillance video, but staff will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Miller also said the transportation director has already met with the current bus drivers to talk about the case and the district will see whether it needs to add or change policy for drivers.
The following is the full press release:
After receiving reports that one of our scheduled bus routes was running late this morning, the
bus was met immediately by the district transportation director upon the driver’s return to the
transportation lot. During the course of his interview, the director detected the smell of alcohol
emanating from the driver. Pursuant to district policy, the employee was immediately escorted
to a facility for drug and alcohol screening. This testing revealed that the driver had a blood
alcohol content above the legal limit.
The driver had driven both an elementary and secondary route this morning, beginning at
approximately 7:15 am and ending at 8:45 am. The bus drove route 24 which included 66
students who attend Central Elementary or Central Intermediate, and six students who attend
Bixby Middle School or Bixby High School. All students were delivered safely to their school
sites and no additional incidents were reported involving the driver and students.
The families of students served on this route are being notified by district personnel this
afternoon. Bixby School Resource Officers were involved in the investigation and arrested the
bus driver at the transportation facility shortly after noon today. The driver has been dismissed
from employment with Bixby Schools.
I am deeply sorry that our children and families have been impacted by this terrible lack of
judgment on the part of a Bixby employee. Keeping our students safe is the most important
responsibility we have as school employees. As the Superintendent of Schools, and as a parent
and grandparent, I fully understand the potential emotional impact this may have on students,
family, and staff. Supports will be made available for students as necessary. It is our goal to be
transparent regarding these types of incidents and we will immediately review our policies and
protocols to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent this from happening in the