A Verona man is accused of driving a school bus while intoxicated, according to a release from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies were called shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday after three separate reports of a Badger Bus school bus driving erratically in the city and town of Verona. The callers reported the bus traveling at high speeds, weaving all over the road, running yellow traffic lights and crossing the center line, nearly striking an oncoming vehicle.
Deputies said they stopped the bus driver on Shady Oak Lane just north of County Road PD in the town of Verona.
The driver, Matthew Frings, 25, denied using any alcohol or drugs, but failed field sobriety tests, according to the release. He was arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance or other drug. He was taken to Meriter Hospital for a blood draw.
A 10-year-old boy was on the bus, deputies said. Frings had picked up the boy to take him to school. Deputies said Frings faces an enhanced charge because a child was on board.
Verona schools spokeswoman Kelly Kloepping said there were other children on the bus from at least two district schools.
Kloepping said the students were heading to New Century School and Sugar Creek Elementary.
An email was sent to Verona Area School District families Wednesday afternoon:
"This morning at approximately 7:15 am, local law enforcement were contacted regarding concerns of erratic driving from a Badger Bus school bus transporting Verona Area School District students.
"Law enforcement responded to the scene, followed by Badger Bus officials. The bus driver was evaluated by law enforcement at the scene and replaced with another driver to continue the route to school.
"At this time, we do not have any additional information. Law enforcement and Badger Bus officials are continuing to investigate. The driver has been removed from duty until further evaluation. As always, student safety is our number one priority and no students were injured as the bus arrived safely, but later than normal, to school."
Verona school officials said one of the reasons they use Badger Bus is because the company does extensive background checks.