Listen Live

A Minnesota man is accused of drunken driving while transporting a busload of 35 boys and two chaperones to a YMCA camp, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

Paul Bullard, 49, of Cannon Falls, was charged with two counts of DWI, KARE-TV reported. One count was for refusing to take a sobriety test, and the other for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Bullard was also charged with being in possession of, and drinking and consumption of, an open bottle, the television station reported.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Bullard had been drinking from a bottle of Fireball whisky when he was pulled over on Sunday morning, WCCO-TV reported.

According to a criminal complaint, troopers said they responded at about 11:20 a.m. CDT after receiving a report of a bus driving erratically in the northbound lanes of Interstate 35, KARE reported.

Troopers identified the driver as Bullard, and said there were 35 children ranging in age from 11 to 14 years old, KMSP-TV reported. There were also two adult chaperones on the bus, the television station reported.

The bus was transporting the children and chaperones to Camp Warren, a YMCA facility in the northern Minnesota city of Eveleth, according to WCCO.

Bullard was hired by Northfield Lines to drive the bus, according to the television station.

Bullard’s initial field sobriety test showed signs of impairment, troopers said. A subsequent breath test revealed Bullard’s blood-alcohol level to be at 0.257 — more than six times the legal limit to drive a bus in Minnesota, KARE reported.

According to the complaint, when Bullard was taken to the Carlton County Jail, he refused to submit another breath sample, “because I don’t want to.”

Troopers discovered a large bottle of Fireball whisky that appeared to be missing about one-third of its contents, the television station reported. Authorities also found a plastic cup in Bullard’s cup holder that allegedly contained an “alcohol mixed beverage” with an “odor similar” to Fireball.

The bus was driven by public safety officials to a nearby gas station and monitored until a new driver arrived, Northfield Lines said in a statement.

“In 34 years I’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” John Benjamin, president of Northfield Lines, told WCCO. “It was a complete shock to us.

“It’s a sad situation. I can just thank God that the children are safe.”