School Bus Driver Accused of DWAI

Girl slightly injured as vehicle backs into tree on DNA Learning Center visit.

A bus driver from Massapequa was arrested on charges of driving while ability impaired after he crashed a school bus during a field trip in Cold Spring Harbor.

James Sommer was driving a school bus carrying 29 Plainedge Middle School seventh graders and a teacher to the DNA Learning Center, part of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, when he attempted to park the bus and backed into a tree limb. A 12-year-old girl was taken to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries.

Sommer, 47, of 248 North Beech St., Massapequa, was charged by Suffolk County Police with aggravated driving while ability impaired while operating a school bus.

The school bus was impounded. Sommer will be held overnight at the Second Precinct for his arraignment Tuesday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Plainedge Schools Superintendent Edward A. Salina, Jr. said: "Earlier today, one of our district buses transporting 29 seventh-grade middle school students to a field trip was involved in an accident. The teacher chaperone on board immediately notified the building principal. Local police were contacted and responded to the scene. The Plainedge Middle School Principal, District Transportation Supervisor and Assistant to the Superintendent for Facilities and Special Projects arrived to assess the situation and ensure student safety. District administrators contacted the parents of each student on the bus. One student, at the request of the parents, was transported to the hospital and later released.Suffolk County Police took the driver into custody and is currently conducting an investigation. The district is fully cooperating with the local authorities. The district will take appropriate action based on the outcome of an investigation."

Correction: Suffolk Police have amended the initial charges and say, "The investigation is continuing and additional charges may be filed." 

mel October 23, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I really think that it is wrong that they publish his address.
Massa October 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM
I think having breath testing the drivers is a good idea before and after school, it would stop some of these problems that we have now. Who knows how long he was drinking before the trip? He should be ashamed of himself and already has forgotten that he was a former police officer and wore a badge.
diane forbes October 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Its time the Plainedge school district starting paying more attention to what goes on at that bus compound behind the high school. The driver had to punch in get the keys to the bus and a run sheet did all the employees who hang out there not notice his eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol according to the police--maybe if they were doing the job they get paid to do this may not have happened
mike October 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM
It's a great idea that they published his address. He was driving kids from his own neighborhood while drinking bourbon. You should be more concerned about the children than his privacy. Maybe if your child was on bus you would feel different. There is no excuse for what he did period.
mike October 23, 2012 at 07:12 PM
They should publish his address. What he did was unforgivable He took 29 of his neighbors kids including mine and put their lives at risk by drinking while driving. This is what you focus on that they gave out his address.....r u kidding me???seriously...worry about the children who were hurt and the others who were scared not about this drunks privacy...


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