Glasgow & West Scotland

Bus driver who was drunk on school run is spared jail term

Stephen McColgan Image copyright Watchtower Media
Image caption Stephen McColgan admitted a charge of drink driving

A bus driver who took primary school pupils home while more than three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit has been spared a jail term.

Stephen McColgan, 52, had just finished dropping off pupils from Bridge of Weir Primary when he was stopped by police.

He had 72 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The limit is 22.

McColgan admitted drink-driving. He was given a community payback order, told to carry out 300 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for three years.

At Paisley Sheriff Court, Sheriff Robert Fife imposed the order after hearing that McColgan was a first offender who was now receiving treatment for his problem with alcohol.

But the sheriff warned the 52-year-old that he could could still be jailed if he breached the terms of the order.

'Risking lives'

The sheriff described the incident as "very serious" and told McColgan he had put "young lives at risk".

He added: "I expect a positive [progress] report every time you come to court, otherwise I'll just revoke the [Community Payback] Order and send you to prison."

Following his guilty plea at a hearing last year, McColgan was sacked from his position with bus firm Gibson Direct.

He had picked up the children in Bridge of Weir at about 15:00 on 9 September last year, dropping them off along his route before being stopped by police in Prieston Road a short time later.

After testing positive for alcohol, McColgan was held in police custody for three nights and later pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Paisley Sheriff Court.

Sentence was deferred, with McColgan returning to the court on Wednesday morning to hear what sentence would be imposed.

Image caption The head teacher of Bridge of Weir Primary sent a letter to parents after the incident

Following the incident in September, Bridge of Weir Primary School head teacher Carol Vallance wrote to parents, saying that she had contacted police after concerns about the driver were raised.

The letter said: "At the time it was brought to my attention that the bus driver may have been drinking.

"I immediately reported my concerns to the bus company and our community police officer who contacted traffic police."

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