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'You're putting our young lives at risk': Green Bay residents react to school bus driver charged with OWI

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Posted at 4:41 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 17:41:08-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Green Bay community members say they're in shock after a Green Bay school bus driver was charged with OWI after authorities say he drove intoxicated during a school field trip.

This week, Green Bay bus driver James Nelson was charged with OWI with a child in the vehicle after driving under the influence during a Lincoln Elementary School field trip to Madison. According to the criminal complaint, Nelson admitted to drinking beer alone on the bus while it was parked during the trip. The complaint says he admitted to drinking two beers at around noon before driving the students back to Madison at around 1 p.m.

“You’re putting our young lives, the lives of our children at risk,” said Green Bay resident John Roake.

According to the complaint, school staff called the police when the bus returned to Green Bay because they suspected Nelson had been drinking after finding beer in a cooler on the bus.

“If you want to drink, fine. Don’t drive with our children in your care and heaven forbid something happened," Roake said. "This is just unacceptable to me.”

Green Bay resident Kayla Jobelius is the mother of a three-year-old. She says that as her child approaches school age, this incident makes her scared to put them on the bus.

“It’s very unsafe for kids and I wouldn’t want my kids around that because you don’t know how the person’s going to react," Jobelius said.

Parents say it’s unfair for families who rely on public school transportation to have to worry about the behavior of bus drivers.

"We have to worry about the districts we’re in, the area, if it’s a good area, all that and now we have to worry about bus drivers? Who would’ve thought,” said Green Bay resident Donte Wiskow.

If convicted, Nelson could face up to six months behind bars and face a fine of up to $1,100. His next court appearance is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 25.