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Witnesses reported school bus swerving before crashing into boat

Published On: Aug 09 2013 10:38:15 PM HST

A man accused of being intoxicated while crashing a school bus. Now, A Kauai school bus company says the driver seemed normal when he arrived to work.

Kauai, HAWAII -

You can see the damage on the boat that investigators say 74-year-old bus driver Lawrence Koth hit. Investigators say witnesses reported the bus swerving on the road, then while trying to pull over to the shoulder it sideswiped a parked boat and trailer. Four Kapa'a Middle School students were on the bus at the time. The Department of Education says school bus drivers are thoroughly screened.

"The vendors are mandated to have nationwide and industry standard background checks. For those drivers there are Department of Transportation regulations, Department of Education regulations. There's a lot that we put in, those drivers are vetted," said Ray L'Heureux with the Hawaii Department of Education.

Koth was arrested for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence of an intoxicant. Police say he failed an initial sobriety test while on the scene. Koth has been suspended indefinitely from Akita Enterprises, Limited. The company has a contract with the Department of Education.

In a statement, Akita Enterprises said "For the past nine years, Mr. Koth has been an exemplary employee and extremely reliable bus driver..."

"I would probably say to parents: those folks who are in front of those buses are some of the safest folks we can assure that they have," said L'Heureux.

Akita Enterprises says like all their driver, Koth went through pre-employment drug testing and the company says he passed random drug and alcohol tests.

Kauai police are waiting for test results, but they say the incident does not appear to be alcohol related.

No injuries have been reported. The DOE says it was very fortunate that no one was hurt in the accident, and it now gives them an opportunity to address its policies. Koth is expected in court on September 18th.

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