BUNNELL – Mark McNeill, the former Flagler County school bus driver who was arrested in February for allegedly drunk-driving on the job, admitted Monday to showing up to court drunk once again. He was initially brought in on one felony child endangerment charge and two misdemeanor charges – DUI and nonviolently resisting arrest.
On Monday McNeill went before Judge Terence Perkins prepared to enter into a plea deal for his charges. During his questioning Judge Perkins observed that McNeill appeared to be inebriated, an accusation which McNeill at first vehemently denied: “No I’m not,” he responded. “I’m not impaired at all.” Judge Perkins then moved to have McNeill taken for a sobriety test before things went any further, at which point Flagler Sheriff’s deputies placed him in handcuffs at the stand.
At the proposition of being tested, McNeill folded. “You know what, your honor? I am impaired. Okay? Because I’m gonna go to jail.” McNeill, who was audibly distressed as he was removed from the courtroom, was later booked into the Flagler County jail at around 7:30 pm.
In the initial incident, McNeill was reported by a coworker for smelling of alcohol before he planned on getting in a school bus to drive. He boarded a school bus not assigned to him, ignoring multiple attempts by district transportation director Dontarrious Rowls to get him to stop. He drove away with 40 Buddy Taylor Middle School students. He would later call in a ‘medical emergency’, and fall into a ditch in a heap when deputies and paramedics arrived. From there McNeill was reportedly belligerent with those attempting to administer care. He wound up registering a 0.320 and 0.310 on subsequent sobriety tests, quadrupling the legal limit.
His felony child endangerment charge carries with it up to five years in jail time. “I’m sorry for what I did,” McNeill said in court Monday. “It was a horrible mistake what I did.”