By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:16 AM CST, November 8, 2012
A school bus driver taking children to a public elementary school on Chicago's North Side was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol this week after being stopped for erratic driving, officials said Wednesday.
A police officer writing tickets Tuesday morning in the 4100 block of North Lawndale Avenue was waved down by a driver who complained that a nearby school bus had nearly rear-ended his vehicle three times, Chicago police said.
The officer, who was on foot, signaled for the bus to stop but the driver ignored him, forcing the officer to get into his car to pull over the bus, according to Chicago police Officer Mike Sullivan.
The officer smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and noticed his eyes were bloodshot, Sullivan said.
Kenny Sellers, 41, of the 7500 block of South Green Street, failed a field sobriety test but refused to take a breath test, Sullivan said. Taken to the 17th District police station, Sellers tried to escape and fought with a police officer, he said. Sellers received seven citations, including a felony count of aggravated DUI for a bus driver and aggravated battery against a police officer.
The four children aboard the bus were taken to Hawthorne elementary school in the Lakeview neighborhood by another driver.
Officials at Chicago Public Schools said Wednesday they intend to levy a fine of $3,000 against Jewel's Bus Co., which employed the driver. Two years ago, Jewel's was criticized by parents after one of its drivers continued to drive even though he was suspected of sexually assaulting a special education student while on the job. A year later, that driver was charged with kidnapping a teenager, which led to sexual assault charges in the earlier incident.
CPS spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said Sellers has been banned from driving a bus for the district. Jewel's is one of the district's largest bus contractors and was paid $9 million to transport students in the 2011-12 school year.
"All families have been notified. We are taking steps to address the situation with the bus company to ensure appropriate action," Sainvilus said.
Officials with Jewel's did not return calls for comment.
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