MEDINA, Ohio — Herbert Ferguson, a 56-year-old bus driver for Medina schools, was arrested Wednesday “for operating a bus with students onboard while under the influence of alcohol.”
The Medina Police Department shared details of his arrest on Facebook Thursday morning saying the alleged violation “was discovered after Ferguson failed a random alcohol test conducted at the conclusion of his morning bus run.” That failed test took place on November 15.
According to Medina City Schools Superintendent Aaron Sable, Ferguson was transporting students ranging from elementary all the way through high school.
"This more than concerns me, this upsets me, this angers me," Sable told 3News' Isabel Lawrence. "All of our employees in our district, our educators and professionals, we have high expectations for everybody that’s working with our students in our district. Our employees have high expectations for each other. So when there’s a failure of this magnitude, it’s extremely disappointing. I take it personally hard, and very seriously.”
A police investigation found that Ferguson had been drinking alcohol out of a sports drink bottle. He's seen carrying a bottle matching that description in the below surveillance video from the bus.
Police say Ferguson, of Westfield Center, was immediately removed from driving duty per school district policy and he subsequently resigned.
School officials reported the incident to police as officers collected evidence and interviewed Ferguson about the allegations.
“This definitely was an egregious breach of trust in the community for the children that the bus driver was delivering to the schools and picking up from home. It obviously was a breach of trust to the parents and the community at large," added Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney.
“Based on information from the investigation, Ferguson has been preliminarily charged with one count of endangering children,” police said while noting it’s a first-degree misdemeanor.
Ferguson was then booked at the Medina County Jail.
Charges for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and additional counts of endangering children are forthcoming, police said.
Robert Travis is the transportation manager for the Medina City Schools. He knows Ferguson personally and told 3News that they've never had issues with him.
Travis says they are now considering conducting monthly, rather than quarterly, random alcohol testing to ensure this never happens again.
“Don’t lose faith in us. We’re there – we all have the same goals, and that is to transport your children to and from school safely so they’re ready to learn,” he said.
Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on Nov. 30, 2022.