Kids call 911 after allegedly drug-impaired bus driver crashes on way to Ore. schools

GASTON, Ore. (KATU/CNN) - An Oregon school bus driver faces a charge of driving under the influence of a controlled substance after he crashed into a ditch with 10 students on board.

One of the first 911 calls reporting the Wednesday morning crash came from a Forest Grove School District student, one of 10 between the ages of 10 and 16 on the bus. Luckily, none of the students were injured in the accident.

"I’m glad my kids don’t ride the school bus. That was my first thought," said Jesse Jones, who has two kids in Forest Grove schools. "Couldn’t imagine what the parents of the kids would be thinking at that time."

Deputies arrested the bus driver, 20-year-old Jonathan Gates, saying he looked impaired on scene. He was cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants then released.
Deputies arrested the bus driver, 20-year-old Jonathan Gates, saying he looked impaired on scene. He was cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants then released. (Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office/KATU/CNN)

Deputies arrested the bus driver, 20-year-old Jonathan Gates, saying he looked impaired on scene. He was cited for driving under the influence of intoxicants then released.

"In my time here, I've never seen something like this before," said David Warner, a school district spokesperson. "Obviously, the safety of our students is top priority for our district, and we're very grateful none of them were injured. That's first and foremost the most important thing."

Warner says the district is following protocol and waiting for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department to finish the investigation before it takes any further action.

"After we have the investigation, we'll talk with the administration and see what the procedures were and make sure this doesn't happen again,” he said.

Gates is employed by the Mid-Columbia Bus Company. A spokesperson says he has been suspended and will receive a mandatory drug test while the crash is under investigation.

Deputies say charges are pending the results of the drug test.

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