On May 20, a Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) school bus driver was charged with DWI after hitting a construction worker in Raleigh at around 10:30 a.m. in the morning.
Donald Edward Eli, age 60, was arrested on May 20 and charged with consuming alcohol on a school bus/child vehicle and with a DWI while operating a commercial vehicle.
Warrant information shows Eli’s license has been revoked.
His blood-alcohol level was .23 which is five times the legal limit for a commercial vehicle operator. Any blood-alcohol level above .04 is illegal for commercial drivers in North Carolina.
No children were on the bus at the time Eli struck 32-year-old Carl Reinhart in the legs, knocking him down, but Eli had just recently made a drop-off at a high school. The time of the incident and Eli’s blood-alcohol level suggests he may have been intoxicated while making his scheduled stops.
Eli, who has been driving school buses for almost 20 years, stated at the scene that he did not know he hit anyone despite Reinhart wearing the appropriate reflective clothing while directing traffic in the construction area. According to media reports Reinhart’s father said his son pushed himself up on the hood in order to avoid going under the bus and being dragged.
WCPSS officials have indicated Eli has been removed from driving duties and is currently suspended from employment “pending investigation.”
“We are grateful no students were present on this bus at the time of the arrest,” WCPSS Communications Director Lisa Luten told media outlets. “Our employees are held to the highest standards. The district does not tolerate actions that are not aligned with these standards.”
As of May 31, Eli has resigned.