Norwich PD: School bus driver charged with DUI after accident with students onboard

Edwin Gonzalez (Photo provided by the Norwich Police Dept.)

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — A Norwich school bus driver was arrested after allegedly driving his bus while under the influence Friday morning.

Norwich police say seven special needs students, two of whom are juveniles, and a driver’s aid were on the bus when 30-year-old Edwin Gonzalez hit a parked car on North Main Street.

“He’s not thinking at all, honestly, to be having, to be under the influence, first of all knowing you have to drive a special needs bus with kids on it,” said Shayonna Smith of Norwich. “That’s wrong.”

None of them were injured, according to police.

“We know there is nothing more important than the safety of the children we transport,” said First Student in a statement. “We understand the concern this matter has caused. The driver has been suspended.”

“Wow, okay, no, he should have been more than suspended,” said Ted Ayers. “He probably needs some help, but he should have been more than suspended; he should be done.”

Police say a witness reported that the Willimantic man drove away erratically after the crash.

“A short time after that, the officers were able to locate the bus driver,” said Norwich police Sgt. James Veiga. “They pulled him over. They began speaking with him. They determined he was most likely under the influence of liquor or drugs. They took the appropriate measures to test him, and they subsequently arrested him for the operation.”

A breathalyzer test was not one of those measures.

“We don’t do a personal breath test,” said Veiga. “We don’t do those out on the scene. What we had was, we actually had one of our drug recognition experts go out to the scene and test him.”

Gonzalez is charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, evading responsibility, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, and second-degree reckless endangerment. He is being held on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court Monday.

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