Vt. man admits driving school bus while drunk

Previous record missed at hiring

Shane K. McBrayer also faces a purse-snatching case. Shane K. McBrayer also faces a purse-snatching case.
By John Curran
Associated Press / June 2, 2010

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WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — A former Vermont school bus driver who drove drunk when he took a bus full of high school hockey players to a game pleaded guilty yesterday in a deal that calls for up to 18 months in jail.

Shane K. McBrayer, 30, of Waterbury pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, both misdemeanors, for having a .134 blood-alcohol content when he drove the Mount Mansfield Union High School boys’ hockey team on a 1 3/4-hour trip to Woodstock in January.

McBrayer, who made no comment about the plea in court, was taken away by sheriff’s deputies afterward. He will serve 30 days in jail and then will be eligible for transfer to Georgia, where he is on probation for a purse snatching, said Vermont prosecutor David Cahill.

McBrayer was originally charged with reckless endangerment and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Prosecutors later upgraded the drunken-driving charge to a felony, after learning about his previous drunk driving convictions, in North Carolina in 2002 and in Georgia in 2004.

But they dropped the felony count and offered a plea for the two misdemeanors, in part because of a records issue in Mecklenburg County, N.C., that probably would have led to litigation about whether the person convicted in that case was the same Shane McBrayer, Cahill said.

The drunken driving cases were part of a long criminal record that includes convictions for robbery, burglary, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, and underage possession of alcohol.

McBrayer omitted any mention of the drunken-driving conviction when he applied for a commercial driver’s license in Vermont.

Even if he had revealed it then, he probably would have received the license, since the state Department of Motor Vehicles withholds licensing in such cases only if a person is under suspension or has no driver’s license in the jurisdiction they move from, said the commissioner of motor vehicles, Robert Ide.

Still, he said that information would have been available to school districts or bus companies that were considering hiring him, Ide said.

“It would not be grounds for disqualification’’ for a commercial driver’s license, Ide said.

The Chittenden East Supervisory Union school district, which hired McBrayer in September, did so after requesting a records check from the FBI, said co-superintendent John Alberghini. But no drunken-driving cases showed up on that, he said.

McBrayer drove a daytime school bus route in Bolton and volunteered to drive for some of the district’s sports teams, Alberghini said.

In the Jan. 23 incident, McBrayer drew the attention of team officials because of erratic driving.

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