LEOMINSTER (CBS) – A school bus driver has been arrested for driving drunk and kidnapping a blind student.
“I can’t believe he was driving around drunk for four hours, with my son in the car,” an outraged Sean Bucci told WBZ-TV.
Bucci’s 15-year-old son Patrick is blind, and everyday is driven from their Clinton home, to the Perkins School in Watertown.
But Wednesday, when his son wasn’t dropped off at the usual time of 5 p.m., Bucci called the transportation company, Ride Rite of Leominster.
They could not locate the driver, Mike Tantillo. Clinton Police began tracking the driver, using cell towers and when Tantillo showed up at the Bucci home at 8:30 p.m., with Patrick in the back, he was arrested for drunk driving.
In court Thursday, Tantillo was charged not only with drunk driving, but with kidnapping and child endangerment.
The prosecutor was outraged that he was driving at all.
“Your honor, Mr. Tantillo has a long record of violence, drugs and alcohol abuse,” said ADA Erin Donnelly.
When WBZ approached the owner of Ride Rite, they were told the company didn’t do background checks, saying that it was up to the state.
State records indicate that Mike Tantillo has been cited 15 times for driving offenses since 1988.
It is unclear at if Tantillo had the required 7D license to transport students, and if he did, how he managed to secure that license with his record.
Tantillo was ordered held on $50,000 bail.
The Clinton School District is in charge of setting up the transportation and the superintendent told WBZ he interviewed Tantillo about his record and was satisfied with the answers.
At Perkins School for the Blind, bus drivers say background checks are standard.