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Bus-ted in Louisville - Broadcasting & Cable

Bus-ted in Louisville

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A Kentucky public school system accused a local TV station of allowing a
condition potentially dangerous to schoolchildren to continue when it reported
a bus driver drinking on the job. The station said the school system is simply
trying to shift the blame to the station from its own failure to
investigate.

Following a tip from someone who said he'd made the same report to busing
officials, WLKY-TV reporter John Boel followed a driver into a bowling alley,
watched him from a distance and followed him into a school bus where he picked
up students.

Boel continued his investigation and later confronted the driver, who
admitted drinking but denied that he was impaired. The driver was suspended following
the report. School officials contended that the complaint to them was general and
did not specify that a driver was drinking.

Jefferson County School spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said police should
have been called in when the driver got on the bus with students, and state
child protective services has been notified.

In his story, Boel told the driver: "I watched you at the bowling alley drink
a couple of Jack and Cokes, and the bartender confirmed that she served that to
you."

News director Mike Neelly said Boel observed from a distance in the
bowling alley that the driver had been drinking from paper cups and with beer
bottles on his table. Although he suspected the driver of drinking, Neelly said
Boel was not sure until he did a follow-up interview with the bartender who'd
served him, then confronted the driver and notified the school system.

Had Boel found convincing evidence at the time, he would have called police,
Neelly said. "He's a parent, I'm a parent," Neelly added. "Of course he would
have called. The school district has been trying to capitalize on that.
Meanwhile, we investigated and they didn't. And nobody there has even said thank
you to us."

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