Oklahoma school bus driver charged after allegedly driving students while drunk

BIXBY, Okla. -- An Oklahoma school bus driver accused of driving a bus with students on board while intoxicated was charged in connection with the alleged crime.

On Feb. 28, officials with Bixby Public Schools said the district’s transportation director pulled 64-year-old Donny Cheatham aside after receiving reports that he was running late on his route.

At that point, the director smelled alcohol on Cheatham and took him to perform a drug and alcohol screening.

Authorities said Cheatham had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

According to a news release from Bixby Public Schools, Cheatham had driven an elementary and secondary route that morning. The route included 66 students from Central Elementary School or Central Intermediate and six students from Bixby Middle School or Bixby High School.

He was arrested on complaints of child endangerment and public intoxication. He was terminated from the school district.

A statement by Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller read:

“I am deeply sorry that our children and families have been impacted by this terrible lack of judgment on the part of a Bixby employee. Keeping our students safe is the most important responsibility we have as school employees. As the Superintendent of Schools, and as a parent and grandparent, I fully understand the potential emotional impact this may have on students, family, and staff. Supports will be made available for students as necessary. It is our goal to be transparent regarding these types of incidents and we will immediately review our policies and protocols to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent this from happening in the future.”

On Tuesday, March 3, Cheatham was charged with one count of child endangerment and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol. He could have faced 72 counts of child endangerment, one for each student on the bus.

Cheatham was released after posting a $15,000 bond, Tulsa County Jail records show.