CRIMINAL DEFENSE • DISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS & HEARINGS

Bus driver who police assumed was drunk sues Nassau County

Posted August 13, 2013

When police respond to a crash that is out of the ordinary in some way — such as a school bus crashing into a parked car — they often first assume the driver is intoxicated. As much as police may want to make an arrest and file charges, however, drunk driving does not explain every accident. When police refuse to believe there could be another reason behind a crash, it can severely damage the driver’s reputation and social life.

Unfortunately, this exact situation occurred last winter when a school bus carrying four children hit a parked car. Although the driver insisted he was sick and needed medical treatment, police administered three breath tests on him. They all came back negative, but police arrested him anyway.

In this situation, police were dead wrong. After police took the man to the hospital several hours later, doctors told him he was suffering from sepsis. The man ended up spending a month and a half in the hospital. Doctors even put him into a coma for two weeks. Although he was eventually released from the hospital after re-learning to walk, the man said he has been ridiculed by a neighbor who continues to call him a drunk driver. Police withdrew the charges this summer.

Now, the man is suing the police department and Nassau County. He is seeking $10 million for pain and suffering and perhaps other damages.

While this is a somewhat unique situation, it clearly shows that police do not always get it right. Sometimes, police are so determined to prove that someone was doing something wrong, that they fail to consider other options. Fortunately, everyone who is accused of drunk driving has the right to defend themselves.

Source: LongIsland.com, “Bus Driver Accused of DWI to Sue Nassau County,” Eric Anderson, Aug. 9, 2013

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