South East Wales

School bus driver drunk at wheel in Ton Pentre, court hears

Jeffrey Owen Image copyright Wales News Service

A school bus driver who was over the drink-drive limit as he drove pupils in Rhondda Cynon Taff was caught after being spotted with a can of cider as he stopped to buy more alcohol.

Jeffrey Owen, 44, from Maerdy, was stopped by police after a member of the public reported seeing him getting into a coach with a drink in his hand.

He was taking sixth-form pupils from Porth Comprehensive to Treorchy.

Owen was given an eight-week suspended sentence by Pontypridd magistrates.

He was also banned from driving for 16 months and ordered to undertake an alcohol rehabilitation course.

Refused test

Pontypridd Magistrates Court heard police were called mid-morning by a member of the public who was concerned after seeing Owen drinking from a can of Strongbow, and then going into a shop to buy more alcohol before getting back on the bus and driving onto a busy road towards Porth Comprehensive.

He was stopped in Ton Pentre, where police found him in charge of a group of sixth-form students from Porth en route to Treorchy Comprehensive for lessons.

After smelling alcohol on the driver's breath, a police officer attempted to give a breathalyser test, but Owen replied: "I'm not giving you anything," and swore.

A sample taken found Owen had 118mgs of alcohol per 100ml of urine in his sample. The legal limit is 107mgs per 100ml.

Defending, John Griffiths said: "There have been a number of stresses and losses in Mr Owen's personal life with some bereavements of family members and close friends.

"A combination of these factors have come to the fore and pushed him over the edge on the day."

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