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RTD Driver Accused Of Driving Bus With Passengers While Drunk

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DENVER (CBS4) – A Regional Transportation District bus driver has been arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police say Darren Pettee, 49, was operating an RTD bus in Denver with a .211 breath alcohol content before being arrested Monday.

Darren Pettee (credit: Adams County Sheriff's Office)

Darren Pettee (credit: Adams County Sheriff’s Office)

At approximately 1:45 p.m. a passenger on the bus noticed a problem and called RTD to report that Pettee failed to stop at a stop sign and was driving recklessly. RTD says Pettee works for one of their contractors called First Transit, which sent a supervisor to check on him. At 9th Avenue and Claremont Street the supervisor smelled alcohol on Pettee’s breath and pulled him from the bus he was operating.

Three or four passengers had been on the bus at the time Pettee was stopped. By that point Pettee was more than halfway through his shift. RTD spokesman Scott Reed told CBS4 Pettee cleared the pre-trip check-in before starting his route.

Adams County deputies arrested Pettee but the case has been given to Denver police.

“Nothing was amiss, so this comes as a surprise as to exactly what happened,” Reed said. “That’s why we’re working very closely with First Transit and police to determine exactly what did happen”

Pettee remains in the Denver Detention Center with no bond. He’s been on the job seven weeks and has prior convictions for driving while ability impaired, a lesser offense than DUI. But RTD says required background checks only go back 15 years, and those offenses occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Pettee has been suspended from his job until police complete their investigation.

Statement From RTD

Safety is a core value of First Transit and Denver RTD. The safety of all the passengers we transport is a responsibility we take very seriously. Upon receiving a call from a customer regarding the driver’s performance, Denver RTD immediately communicated the concern to First Transit, who responded swiftly and appropriately – promptly removing this driver from the bus and providing our passengers with a new driver.

In accordance with First Transit policy and in the interest of passenger safety, the driver in this incident has been removed from service pending the outcome of investigation.

Denver RTD has never had an incident such as this. Nor have we had any such incident with any of our contractors. First Transit in Denver has also not experienced such an incident.

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