MIMS, Fla. - Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrested the driver of a Greyhound bus Sunday night after passengers said he swerved into other lanes on Interstate 95 for more than 30 miles.
Tuesday afternoon, troopers escorted Richard Campbell in handcuffs from Parrish Medical Center to the Brevard County Jail. Troopers said they took Campbell directly to the hospital for observation after they arrested him.
They charged him with DUI and child neglect, because the infant and 11-year-old on board the bus.
One of the 39 passengers called 911 around 8:30 p.m. to alert authorities that something was wrong.
"We're on a Greyhound bus and the driver is reckless driving," she told the dispatcher. "He's fidgeting. He's been fidgeting for about an hour-and-a-half now. He almost ran a car off the road."
The call was made as the bus headed south on I-95 through Daytona Beach.
"He keeps putting his head on the steering wheel and bringing it back up and jumping in his chair," the caller said.
The passenger said the bus was traveling about 70 mph, and it kept drifting into the shoulder of the roadway and then into the far left lane of the highway.
She said the driver's eyes were swollen and that he kept complaining about neck pain.
"For now, don't do anything until I hear something from the officer," the dispatcher told the caller.
The dispatcher had no nearby patrol units, and the bus traveled more than 30 miles south on I-95 to Stuckway Road in Brevard County before deputies and FHP troopers would pulled the vehicle over.
The driver, Richard Campbell, 59, failed the field sobriety test and was arrested for driving under the influence.
Troopers said he told them he had consumed two 5-Hour Energy Drinks in a four-hour time span.
Troopers said when they arrested Campbell he had a dry mouth, high heart rate, was moaning and yelling, smacking his lips, grinding his teeth, and passed out three times.
Greyhound Bus Lines told Local 6 it has a "zero-tolerance policy" when it comes to substance abuse.
"It is inappropriate for us to speculate at this time as to what occurred due to the ongoing investigation," said Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson. "We are fully cooperating with local authorities and are currently conducting an investigation of our own."
"Standard procedure is for a driver to pull over to a safe location whenever there is a concern about the safety of the customers onboard and/or the safe operations of the coach," said Gipson.
Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson defended the dispatcher's actions.
"Obviously, there's no training manual that covers every possible scenario that could arise and therefore there is no standard response to a situation involving an impaired operator driving down a highway with a bus full of passengers," said Davidson. "Having said that, our call-takers and dispatcher are very-well trained, but also must rely on their common sense, especially when dealing with an unusual situation such as this."
Davidson continued, saying "In this case, the call-taker clearly was concerned that the reporting party not do anything that might anger or enrage the driver and potentially further endanger the passengers. To those who might second-guess or Monday-morning-quarterback our call-taker, I would ask them to think for a moment about the potential for tragedy and the resulting public outcry had we advised the caller to ask the bus driver to pull over and then it sparked a confrontation or angry reaction that resulted in the bus crashing and injuring the passengers, or worse."
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