Richland school bus driver accused of DUI
A school-bus driver for Monark Student Transportation has been charged with drunken driving and child endangerment after being accused of transporting Richland children to St. Ursula School in Hampton in June while drunk, police said.
Martin Hehman, 68, of Richland, was stopped on the morning of June 6 traveling north along Route 8 in Hampton after police received a call around 8:14 a.m. about a school bus driving erratically, Hampton police Officer Pete Halli said.
Hehman showed signs of impairment, failed a field sobriety test and was taken into custody, Halli said.
The driver had dropped off 10 students at St. Ursula School at about 8:05 a.m., the officer said. The students reside within the Pine-Richland School District borders.
Hehman submitted to a blood test at UPMC Passavant Hospital in Cranberry, which then was sent to the Allegheny County Crime Lab, Halli said.
Monark officials were contacted on the morning of the arrest, Hehman was suspended after his arrest, and he was fired after the blood-alcohol results came back, Halli said.
Test results showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.138, above the legal limit of 0.08, when they came back on June 17, Halli said, and he then called parents of all the children on the bus.
“I waited for results to come back because we couldn't accuse a guy of something we didn't have evidence of,” Halli said.
Halli said Hehman admitted to having a drink the night before but said he had nothing that morning.
Hehman has been charged drunken driving and 10 counts of endangering the welfare of children. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 23, after this edition's deadline, before District Judge Suzanne Renee Blaschak in West Deer.
Monark owner Mark Schmitt did not respond to a message seeking comment. The company provides transportation services for Pine-Richland and is responsible for busing children in the district to private and parochial schools within 10 miles.
In a statement, Pine-Richland officials said, “We are very concerned about a situation involving a driver of one of our parochial school bus runs. “We have reviewed the details thoroughly and have been in frequent contact with Monark Student Transportation. They have taken action. We also have been in contact with the families. The safety and wellbeing of our students is critical.”
Thomas Perko, 30, of Richland, said his daughter, Zoe, 6, was on the bus that morning, and he's disappointed that no one contacted parents sooner about the arrest.
“Everyone knows lab results take time, and I don't know if it's the police department's responsibility to make contact with the parents at that time,” Perko said. “But whether it's Monark or the school district, one of those two entities could have called me to say, ‘Hey here's what happened.'”
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: CSI Club at Northland Public Library
- Public hearing set for April on Cardiff Heights housing plan off McKnight Road
- North Hills district’s tobacco ban includes e-cigarettes
- Fish-fry Fridays in North Hills form friendship, fellowship
- Photo Gallery: Highcliff Elementary Family Olympics
- Shaler Area students gear up for production of ‘Mary Poppins’
- Sign welcoming commuters to Shaler planned for Route 8
- Ross art show to be held in conjunction with Women’s Day
- Hampton couple finds key to lengthy, loving relationship
- Ross committee created to find uses for former school
- McCandless author Arneson wins Top Book Awards