School bus wreck leads to DUI arrest

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man who crashed into the back of an Upshur County school bus Monday afternoon consumed six beers prior to getting behind the wheel, he told officers.

James Richard Hebb, 26, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, first offense, a misdemeanor, and remained incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $20,000 bond as of presstime.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office, Hebb was driving a 1997 Pontiac when he rear-ended a school bus on Route 20 North.

No one was injured in the accident, a spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputy Dewaine Linger, the investigating officer, noted that Hebb smelled “like an alcoholic beverage” and his eyes appeared red and glassy, the complaint states. Hebb allegedly told Linger he had consumed six beers – and subsequently failed three standard field sobriety tests, according to the report.

Hebb was then transported to a holding cell, where he allegedly failed an intoximeter test, which registered Hebb’s BAC at .161; the legal limit is .08.

Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Roy Wager said 26 children and one driver – none of whom were injured – were on board the bus when Hebb hit it, some time between 3:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

“It was on its way to take children home and the bus stopped going uphill in the Pringle Tree area on Route 20 North and a car came up behind it and rear-ended it,” Wager said.

“There were no reported injuries on our side. The only damage to the bus was paint off the rear bumper. It was able to continue on and finish the run.”

Wager said he believed there were six people – two men, two women and two children – in the Pontiac when it struck the bus.