A school bus driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.26 when he crashed his bus, with four students aboard, into a minivan that was transporting special needs students, authorities in Tyngsborough said Tuesday.
At about 2:45 p.m. Monday, Tyngsborough police said, a small school bus rear-ended the minivan at the intersection of Middlesex Road at Westford Road. The minivan was pushed into the intersection and the rear window was broken, police said. Each vehicle was carrying four students and two adult monitors.
The driver of the school bus, Erik Paulik, 37, of Manchester, N.H., was arrested on charges of operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor, child endangerment while operating under the influence, and failure to slow when approaching an intersection.
Police said the bus was tailgating the minivan before the crash. The drunken driving charge was filed after police discovered that Paulik allegedly had a blood alcohol of 0.26 percent, officials said.
Police said no one was injured in the crash. However a relative said that the driver of the minivan, a 27-year-old woman, had been pregnant and suffered a miscarriage as a result of the crash.
Many of the students attended the Lighthouse School in North Chelmsford, Scott Bartis, the principal, said. The school bus involved in the accident is owned by Easter Seals of New Hampshire
Paulik is employed by Easter Seals of New Hampshire, a spokeswoman there confirmed.
“He is now on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation,” said Karen Van Der Beken, senior vice president of communications for Easter Seals.
Van Der Beken said she did not know whether the leave will be paid. The organizations employs 130 drivers and has a fleet of 90 buses, she said.
Paulik’s future with Easter Seals is uncertain until the investigation is complete, Van Der Beken said.
Paulik pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment in Lowell District Court Tuesday, according to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.’s office. Bail was set at $3,000 with the condition that Paulik not drive, refrain from consuming alcohol, submit to random screenings, and not contact witnesses, a Leone spokeswoman said.
The New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles reported that Paulik’s driving record does not include any previous incidents involving driving while under the influence.