MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – A Moore Public Schools bus driver was arrested after being accused of driving a bus while impaired Monday morning.
“It was this morning about 7:25 when police begin receiving calls about a school bus driving erratically in southwest Oklahoma City,” said Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department. “It could have been a very dangerous situation.”
James Belcher was taken into custody at the scene near Southwest 89th and Walker.
Residents reported seeing Belcher swerving in and out of lanes and hitting curbs. Knight told KFOR Belcher was under the influence. Thankfully, no students were on the bus at the time.
“It’s unclear what kind of substance he was using, but it impaired him enough that he was unable to drive safely,” said Knight. “Obviously, it could have been a very dangerous situation not only for motorists on the roadway, but if he had children on that bus, it would have just made it even worse.”
Belcher is now facing a DUI drug charge. After digging deeper into Belcher’s previous charges, it turns Monday’s encounter is not his first encounter with authorities.
He was convicted on a DUI charge in 2019 in Cleveland County. Belcher was released from probation for the 2019 conviction in July of 2021.
In October of 2021, he was hired by Moore Public Schools as a bus driver. It’s important to note that Belcher’s previous conviction was unrelated to Moore Public Schools or Monday’s arrest.
In 2006, he was arrested on DUI charges. In 2003, he was charged with resisting arrest, and in 2000, Belcher was arrested for reckless driving, according to Oklahoma State Court Network.
All four charges were misdemeanors.
KFOR asked Moore Public Schools how Belcher got hired with previous DUI convictions and was told he passed his drug screening test and his background check did not show a felony.
The school district also released this statement to KFOR:
“Just before 8 a.m. today, a Moore Public Schools bus driver was arrested on suspicion of a DUI by the Oklahoma City Police Department. The incident occurred near SW 89th and Walker, and there were no students on the bus at the time of the incident. The MPS driver was immediately terminated with the district. The safety and security of Moore Public Schools students and employees is our focused goal, and we will continue to assist the Oklahoma City Police Department in their investigation of this matter as needed.”
Belcher was arrested and booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center.