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Man pleads guilty to alcohol-related school bus driving

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

A bus driver for the Houston school district admitted Thursday to drinking alcohol while waiting for a volleyball game to end in Grand Meadow.

Leonard Warren Olson, 59, of Houston, pleaded guilty in Mower District Court to alcohol-related school bus driving, a misdemeanor, records show.

Judge Fred Wellmann sentenced Olson to pay $482 and follow the recommendations of his alcohol assessment, court documents show. Olson must keep attending weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and complete an outpatient treatment program.

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If he follows probation for one year, Olson could get the conviction removed from his record.

Houston schools Superintendent Kim Ross said Thursday that Olson was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the incident. Olson resigned a short time later, which was approved Sept. 18, he said.

Olson had been driving buses for the district for several years.

According to the police report, Olson had a couple of mixed drinks Sept. 10 at the Skjenke Bom Lounge in Grand Meadow. He was waiting for Houston High School’s girls volleyball teams to finish games against Grand Meadow.

Someone called authorities at 6:30 p.m. to report that a Houston bus driver had at least three drinks at the bar, the report says. Olson’s bus was parked across from the bar.

When Grand Meadow Police Chief James Richardson found the bus a short time later, there were no children inside 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’d had a couple of drinks.

A breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of nearly 0.07 percent; the state’s limit for regular drivers is 0.08 percent.

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The Houston volleyball coach, who had a proper classification of drivers’ license, drove the bus home, leaving at 9:10 p.m. from Grand Meadow, with Olson seated behind him.

A version of this article appears in the Austin Post-Bulletin.

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