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Police: Mingo County bus driver was under the influence

August 30, 2018

Justice

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — A Mingo County bus driver was allegedly under the influence while transporting a girls soccer team to a match through Boone County on Tuesday, West Virginia State Police troopers said.

The driver’s father, a Mingo County magistrate, said his son was likely dehydrated or had some other medical issue and was not high or under the influence of drugs. Blood test results are expected back Friday or Monday.

David Lee Justice Jr., 34, of Delbarton, Justice Virginia, is facing a felony charge of DUI with child endangerment, according to a criminal complaint filed in Boone County Magistrate Court.

According to the complaint, the school bus was pulled over while traveling northbound on U.S. 119 in Boone County by a state Division of Natural Resources officer. Three separate people had called 911 about the bus as it traveled through Logan County, weaving in and out of lanes and driving recklessly, troopers said.

DNR officer Terry Ballard saw the school bus weaving across the center line multiple times before he initiated a traffic stop, according to the complaint.

Troopers learned Justice was driving the Mingo Central High School girls soccer team to a match in Lincoln County, with several teenagers on board.

Officers asked Justice to perform three field sobriety tests, in which he failed to follow instructions several times, according to the criminal complaint.

During a walk and turn test, Justice could not keep balance and raised his arms, performing the turn incorrectly, troopers said. Justice could not stand on one leg longer than 15 seconds, placing his foot down multiple times and swaying, according to the complaint.

Justice was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center, where he consented to a blood test, troopers said. Troopers are awaiting the results of the test. Justice was arraigned before Boone Magistrate Danny B. Moore Jr. and later released on bail.

Justice is the son of Mingo Magistrate David Justice.

Magistrate Justice said his son assured him he did not take anything. His son was likely suffering from dehydration or some other medical issue, he said.

He took his son to Williamson Memorial Hospital to do a separate, independent blood test. The results are expected back Friday or Monday, Magistrate Justice said.

Magistrate Justice said his son began sweating heavily while driving through Logan County, but decided to press on to get the team to their game in Lincoln County. He believes his son became too dehydrated, causing him to swerve while driving.

“If he was dehydrated enough, he could have been having a mini-heatstroke or something,” Magistrate Justice said.

His son doesn’t have a history of diabetic issues, but believes decreased blood sugar or some unknown medical issues might have been at play.

Meanwhile, the Mingo County Board of Education said it is investigating the incident.

“The safety of our children is our first priority,” Mingo Superintendent Don Spence said in a statement. “I am aware of the arrest of a bus driver, and I am taking all necessary steps to address the situation.”

Spence said the Mingo BOE has no tolerance for behaviors that endanger the lives of students or staff.

It was unclear how long David Justice Jr. had been employed as a bus driver. Before being elected to his seat on the bench in 2016, Magistrate Justice was also a school bus driver in Mingo County.

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