Court for West Bend school bus driver accused of drugged driving
WEST BEND - A bus driver serving students from the West Bend School District was expected to be in court Tuesday under suspicion that he was driving a school bus while under the influence.
The Johnson School Bus company has fired Terrance Habram, who was scheduled to appear in court at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"He had an illegal narcotic substance in his system without a valid prescription. We have a zero tolerance with this," said Steve Johnson of Johnson School Bus.
The thought alone is enough to make any parent cringe -- your kid in a vehicle with someone under the influence behind the wheel. The person under the influence, a bus driver, with more than two dozen kids onboard.
"A lot of things were just rushing through my head," said West Bend East High School student Isaah Saez, who got on that bus Monday morning and talked Tuesday with TODAY'S TMJ's Nick Montes.
"I was watching through the mirror, and his eyes shut every two seconds."
West Bend senior Morgan Jones was shocked that Habram was arrested for possession of a narcotic and driving under the influence -- with her classmates onboard.
"I can't believe that a bus driver would even do that. Like, it's insane," said Jones. "It would be a shame to figure out that some of our graduating class wouldn't be there if this guy did take some lives."
Habram, 50, was driving the bus when officers stopped him at the entrance to the school. They were tipped off after two girls on the bus called their mother, saying Habram was driving erratically.
Saez claims that Habram had near misses while driving the bus full of his classmates.
"The light was red, and he drove right into the middle of the road and backed up. Over in the parking lot, he almost hit a van," claimed Saez.
"Wish it never happened," said Allen Pauli of the West Bend School District. "We are grateful to the two young ladies who called their mothers.
Katie Nehmer and Alexis Van Vooren sat behind one of the girls and didn't know what to do.
"We were holding each other," explained Nehmer.
"Everyone looked so scared," added Van Vooren.
Joe Pechstein rides the bus to school and says if it were his driver, he's do the exact same thing.
"I would probably tell him to pull over, get off, get out and then call someone else, that's what i would do."
Habram no longer has a job with Johnson School Bus after working there several years.
TODAY'S TMJ4 went to Habram's house to see if anyone would like to comment. Several dogs were home, but nobody came to the door.
Michael Laubenstein lives next door and said he mostly sees Habram in passing, but says he has children of his own. "As a parent, it must just be terrifying to think if it is in fact the case, that could happen... you would like to think that school bus drivers are held to a little bit of a higher standard."