Fort Worth

School bus driver drunk, stuck in mud, police say

A school bus driver was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving after police found him at the wheel of the bus, which was stuck in a muddy median outside downtown Fort Worth.

When officers responded to a call at 1:16 a.m., they found the bus, which appeared to belong to the Joshua school district, in the 500 block of East Lancaster Avenue.

“The bus had driven into a median and become stuck in the mud. Officers approached the driver and smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from” him, said Cpl. Tracey Knight, a Fort Worth police spokeswoman.

A witness told police that he “had seen a school bus driving on the road in a dangerous manner,” Knight said.

The driver, Joe David Stanley, 50, told police that he worked for First Student, a national corporation that contracts with school districts for student transportation.

The company also charters the school buses for private events. Police said Stanley told them that he had driven a wedding party to Allen and gotten lost on the way home to Joshua.

Stanley had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, higher than the legal limit for driving, police said.

Joshua school Superintendent Fran Marek said drivers are supposed to put First Student magnets on the side of a bus to cover the school district’s name when the buses are used for after-hours charter services.

“He was not a Joshua ISD employee; he was a First Student employee,” Marek said. “Was that a Joshua ISD bus? No, that was a First Student bus.”

Stanley was released on bail, and his next court date is Friday.

“The school district has nothing to do with this incident whatsoever,” First Student spokesman Chris Kemper wrote in an email. “The driver was an employee of First Student. He is no longer employed with us due to his inappropriate actions last weekend.”

The grassy median off East Lancaster Avenue and Interstate 35W was still scarred with muddy tire tracks Monday.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792