No Charges for School Bus Driver Who Crashed Into Ditch

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on December 5, 2019

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — A school bus driver who was recently arrested for allegedly driving while impaired after crashing into a ditch was found not to be under the influence of controlled substances and will not be charged, Oregon Live reports.

As SBF previously reported, on the morning of Nov. 13, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a crash involving a school bus and found it in a ditch with 12 passengers on board. In addition to Jonathan Gates, 20, the school bus driver, an aide and 10 Forest Grove School District students ranging in age from 10 to 16 were aboard the bus. No one was injured in the incident. Gates, who was on his third day on the job, according to the district, was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, and 11 counts of reckless endangering.

SBF also reported an update to the story on Nov. 22 with information provided by the Oregon Department of Education that stated that drug screens conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and the school bus company Gates worked for turned out to be negative.

On Wednesday, according to Oregon Live, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office announced that it will not prosecute Gates, because the state could not prove the charges against him beyond a reasonable doubt, District Attorney Matt Wise said in a written statement. Wise also said that a sobriety test taken by Gates less than two hours after his arrest showed a .00% blood alcohol content and a test from a drug recognition expert did not find Gates to be under the influence of any controlled substances.

Gates told officers that he took several prescribed medications for ADHD and depression, but, according to Wise’s report, none of the ones he listed are considered to be controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, Oregon Live reports. Gates also told deputies that he had woken up at 4 a.m. with a headache and couldn’t get back to sleep. Video from inside the bus apparently shows Gates, Wise’s report states, looking drowsy as he crashed the bus, according to the news source.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told KATU News, according to Oregon Live, that it could still potentially issue Gates a citation, but that Wise said that the state could not prove criminal recklessness.

Related Topics: driver fatigue, impaired driving, legal issues, Oregon, school bus crash

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Cindy Balch

     | about 4 months ago

    20 years old is NOT old enough to drive a school bus or a tractor trailer rig!

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