The Oregon school bus driver who was arrested for DUII in November after he drove off the road with students onboard will no longer be prosecuted.
Twenty-year-old Jonathan Gates had been accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants on November 13.
The Mid Columbia Bus Company employee briefly drove a Forest Grove School District bus off the road before quickly correcting. He was transporting ten students between the ages of ten and 16 as well as an aide. No one was injured.
The Washington County Sherriff’s Office arrested the young driver and charged him with DUII, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment.
However, deputy district attorney Matt Wise said Wednesday that Gates won’t be prosecuted because the state can’t prove that he was either impaired or criminally reckless.
Video from inside the school bus showed the vehicle travelling off the road and students being thrust out of their seats. The children were heard screaming, and Gates repeatedly apologized.
Wise reported that deputies noticed the driver’s eyelids were droopy and his eyes were remained closed longer than usual following the incident. Gates reportedly said he had fallen asleep while driving.
A statement from the District Attorney’s Office said Gates took prescription Strattera, Wellbutrin and Intuniv for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.
He showed no signs of impairment during the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test that deputies administered. However, he reportedly demonstrated two of four indicators of intoxication during the one-leg stand and five of eight indicators during the walk and turn test.
His blood alcohol content was 0.00 percent less than two hours after he was arrested. Tests of his urine were also negative for controlled substances and he was traveling within the speed limit. This evidence led to the charges being dropped.
If you’ve been accused of driving while under the influence, reach out to our Portland DUI lawyers.