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Houston school bus driver faces alcohol charges

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

A bus driver for the Houston School District has been charged with drinking alcohol while waiting for volleyball games to end last week in Grand Meadow.

A citation charging Leonard Warren Olson with alcohol-related school bus driving was filed Friday in Mower District Court. It summoned him to appear Oct. 4 in court.

Olson, 59, of Houston, allegedly had a couple of mixed alcohol drinks Sept. 10 at the Skjenke Bar & Lounge in Grand Meadow, according to the police report. He was waiting for the Houston high school girls volleyball teams to finish their games against Grand Meadow.

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A person called authorities about 6:30 p.m. to report that the Houston school bus driver was seen drinking at least three mixed drinks while sitting at the bar, the report says. Olson’s bus was parked across the street to the east of the bar.

When Grand Meadow Police Chief James Richardson found the bus shortly later, there were no children inside of it. He reported finding Olson smoking a cigarette while behind the wheel of the bus.

Olson initially told the chief he only ate at the bar. When Richardson told him several witnesses saw him drinking, Olson said he just had a couple of drinks, the report says.

During a preliminary breath test, Olson allegedly acted like he was blowing into the machine while his mouth was shut, according to the report. He eventually gave a proper breath test showing a nearly 0.07 blood-alcohol level, which is below the 0.08 limit for regular drivers.

Richardson then spoke with Dave Runningen, the Houston volleyball coach, between games about the situation. Runningen drove the bus, leaving about 9:10 p.m. from Grand Meadow with Olson seated behind him.

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