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Bus Driver Arrested for Driving While Impaired after Crash During Field Trip in Cold Spring Harbor

Bus driver James Sommer was arrested today for DWI outside of the DNA Learning Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

NEWS RELEASE UPDATE FROM SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE: The bus driver was arrested for driving while ability impaired.

Suffolk County Police today arrested a bus driver for driving while intoxicated after he crashed a school bus during a field trip in Cold Spring Harbor around 10:00 a.m.

James Sommer was driving a school bus carrying 29 Plainedge Middle School seventh graders and a teacher to the DNA Learning Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 334 West Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor, when he attempted to park the bus and backed into a tree limb. A 12-year-old girl was transported to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries.

Sommer, 47, of 248 North Beech St., Massapequa, was charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger 15 Years Old or Younger (Leandra’s Law), Driving While Intoxicated While Operating a School Bus with Students on Board and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The school bus was impounded. Sommer will be held overnight at the Second Precinct for his arraignment tomorrow at First District Court in Central Islip.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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2 comments to Bus Driver Arrested for Driving While Impaired after Crash During Field Trip in Cold Spring Harbor

  • There's a method....

    According to Newsday, an open bottle of bourbon was also found on this school bus (although it wasn’t clear if it belonged to the bus driver, the teacher or one of the seventh-graders). Oh, and they’ve also downgraded the charges against Mr. Sommer. Wonderful! By no means am I disparaging the many fine school bus drivers out there, but folks need to be aware that there are more than a few marginal individuals hired to transport kids to and from school. I once had one show up for my kindergartener lacking both the ability to speak English and the knowledge of where my child’s school was located. Fortunately, I was able to drive my child to school that day and the next day a different driver appeared. Face it, driving the school bus is a part-time/split-shift job, it doesn’t pay all that well, and the bus companies either aren’t very selective in their hiring or are simply making the best of a bad situation. How many times has a school bus been driven by a drunken driver and, because there was no crash, no one was any wiser? I shudder to think.

  • Anonymous

    Some people make mistakes and although what Mr.Sommer did was by no means right, we do not know all the details of the incident and should not make prior judgements about him or any other bus driver.

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