The driver of a school bus from the Lewiston-Altura school district was determined to be driving while intoxicated after having driven his bus into a ditch. At the time of the crash there were five children on the bus.
According to Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand, the driver was 54-year old Karl Allen Herber of Rollingstone, Minnesota and the accident took place at 4:44 p.m.. Herber was reportedly driving his vehicle at the end of the school day, taking children home, when his vehicle drifted across the center line of the road it was travelling on and crossed into oncoming traffic. It continued on into the ditch, where it came to a halt after striking several trees.
The children who were being transported on the bus were all under the age of sixteen. They were safely taken to their homes by other drivers, and none were reported to have suffered any injuries. Herber was also not injured, and was taken directly to the Winona County Jail. He posted bail after having been charged with multiple counts of third-degree drunken driving.
Officers on the scene indicated that when they arrived they detected a strong odor of alcohol and that the driver could not maintain his balance.
According to representatives from the Lewiston-Altura School District there is a strict no-alcohol, zero tolerance policy for those who are charged with driving their school buses. Their accepted blood alcohol limit is no higher than 0.0, though the general limit for drivers of any type of commercial vehicle is established at 0.04 percent According to the criminal complaint against him, at the time of the crash Herber’s blood alcohol level was established at 0.09 percent, which is not only well above the allowable limit for the school district and for commercial vehicles, but is also above the 0.08 legal limit set for drivers in the state.
Little information was available about Herber’s driving record with the school district, though court records indicate that he has no criminal offenses in his file and that he driving record is relatively clean but for having been issued a ticket in 2013 for failing to wear his seatbelt. The school district released no information regarding the children or how long the driver has worked for them, but did indicate that they are investigating.