The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Floyd Brown. Mr. Brown gets today's award for taking a bus full of Stuart Florida Children to Orlando. He's a bus driver. Well one of the parent chaperones noticed something odd about Mr. Brown and got him to pull over at a rest area. Police arrived and tested him. Mr. Brown was DUI and was immediately arrested. What a low-life, endangering children like he did.
Side note- The Sun-Sentinel can't shake their bad habit of protecting the names of criminals. Their coverage of this story contrasts with the Palm Beach Post and Orlando Sentinel who both name Mr. Brown.
For driving DUI and putting the lives of children at risk, Floyd Brown is today's knucklehead of the day.
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Parents and chaperones from Stuart Middle School noticed something wrong with the man who drove their charter bus full of eighth-graders headed to Universal Studios Friday morning.
He looked lethargic, they thought.
They persuaded 48-year-old Floyd Brown to pull over at a rest stop in Fort Drum on Florida's Turnpike and told each of the 39 eighth-graders on the bus to get off.
One chaperone called the school. Another called 911. Moments later, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper arrived to investigate.
"He noticed the driver was still behind the wheel of the bus and he smelled like alcohol," Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Frith said.
The trooper arrested Brown on charges of driving under the influence. He was booked into the Okeechobee County jail Friday and held in lieu of $750 bail.
Managers at Annett Bus Lines, the company that employs Brown, said he is one of their best drivers. He lives in Michigan for most of the year but has worked for Annett as a seasonal employee since 2003. Several of the company's clients ask for Brown when they charter a bus, General Manager Robin Slabe said.
"This is all very strange," Slabe said from the company's corporate headquarters in Sebring. "At this point, we don't really know what's going on. All we're hearing is third- and fourth-party information."
The Martin County School District works through travel agency Center for Travel to secure charter buses for school trips. Slabe said Center for Travel has called on Annett to provide transportation on school trips for Stuart Middle for more than 20 years.
All Annett drivers must pass background checks as well as reviews of their driving histories before they are hired, Slabe said. Brown passed his yearly background check Thursday.
Drivers licensed to operate commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard than other motorists, Frith said. Private motorists can be legally presumed to be under the influence of alcohol with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent. A commercial driver's license prohibits drinking any alcohol before driving.
"You can't have a 0.02 blood alcohol level" if you have a commercial license, Frith said.
Slabe said an agent from Center for Travel met Brown at the school Friday morning and said he seemed normal. The bus company will conduct its own investigation of the incident.
Another driver picked up the students Friday and drove them the rest of the way. School district spokeswoman Cathy Brennan said the children arrived at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure in the afternoon.