RACINE COUNTY -- 38-year-old Jason Stalbaum of Waterford is now facing four felony criminal charges in addition to four citations -- accused of driving a school bus while under the influence of drugs. Students were aboard the bus at the time of this incident, which occurred on Tuesday, October 6th. Stalbaum is the son of the owner of the school bus company.
Stalbaum is facing four felony counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety, along with four citations:
- Failure to keep vehicle under control
- Deviating from lane of traffic
- Failure of operator to notify police of accident
- Hit-and-run -- property adjacent to highway
On October 6th, Racine County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Buena Park Road near Barnes Drive for a report of an accident.
A complainant indicated a school bus operator, later identified as Stalbaum, had driven a school bus with students on board through a cornfield -- before returning to the roadway and continuing to drive.
According to the criminal complaint, a deputy observed tire marks leading from Buena Park Road into gravel, then into a ditch, and finally, into the cornfield. Roughly three rows of corn were destroyed -- for approximately 100 feet.
The tire tracks showed the vehicle returned from the cornfield to the ditch, back onto the gravel, and finally back onto Buena Park Road.
A deputy spoke with the owners of S & J Bus Service Inc. in Waterford, who indicated they owned the school bus in question, and that there were four students on board.
Keith Brandstetter, Waterford Union High School superintendent tells FOX6 News the students on board are in high school -- one from Waterford, another from Burlington, and two from Union Grove.
No one was hurt.
The complaint indicates the company's owners told officials the bus operator was Jason Stalbaum, son of the company's owner.
One of the children on board the bus told officials the bus drove into the ditch on Buena Park Road before heading into the cornfield -- eventually returning to the road, according to the complaint.
The school bus was located on State Highway 11, just west of County Highway J.
Field sobriety tests were performed on Stalbaum -- and according to the complaint, a deputy noticed Stalbaum displayed "unusual indicators of impairment" -- including distinct facial tremors, distinct body tremors, and that "odd behavior" was displayed during the "Walk-and-Turn" test.
According to the complaint, Stalbaum told officials he had taken Clonazepam on Tuesday morning.
Field sobriety testing was continued at the Burlington Township Police Department -- and officials observed impairment during each test, the complaint says.
A deputy spoke with Stalbaum about his medications, and he indicated he took Clonazepam at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, and he said the medication "makes him feel high." He also said he took Morphine Sulfate around 1:00 p.m. Stalbaum further stated that he smoked marijuana in July, according to th ecomplaint.
Stalbaum was placed under arrest for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and taken to the hospital, where he consented to a test of his blood.
The complaint says Stalbaum admitted to "stockpiling Clonazepam to use recreationally," and that when he takes the medication he "balloons out" or "checks out."
Stalbaum further stated that he took two Morphine Sulfate pills and one Clonazepam pill during lunch on Tuesday -- and that he smoked marijuana either the previous night, or the night before that.
Stalbaum made his initial appearance in court on Thursday, October 8th -- via closed circuit television from jail. The court commissioner set $50,000 cash bond.
He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for October 14th.