Test showed bus driver suspected of DUI had .3% blood-alcohol level, source says

A bus driver’s blood-alcohol level was tested at more than .3 percent after he crashed into multiple cars in Long Beach earlier this week, according to a police source.

That’s almost four times the legal limit for a normal driver. Any amount of detectable alcohol is unacceptable for city bus operators, according to Long Beach Transit spokesman Michael Gold.

Police arrested the driver, John Moreno, 48, around 1 a.m. Monday, about an hour after he sideswiped multiple cars near Pacific Avenue and Anaheim Street, according to authorities.

An LBPD spokeswoman declined to confirm the driver’s blood-alcohol level, saying the department typically doesn’t release that information.

The police source said the .3 percent reading came from a breath test. The source didn’t have authorization to speak publicly about the case and asked not to be named.

Based on the time and location of the crashes, transit officials think the driver was ending his shift and on his way back to the city bus yard, according to Gold. He’d been working the free-to-ride Passport route, which runs from Downtown to the Queen Mary, Gold said.

Nobody was on the bus other than the driver when he crashed and nobody was hurt, according to police. Police said 13 cars were hit.

Gold said authorities are still trying to determine the exact sequence of events including when the driver may have started drinking.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we take incidents like this one very seriously,” Gold said in a statement. “We are working cooperatively with LBPD and will fully investigate this matter.”

Long Beach Transit drivers are randomly tested for drug and alcohol impairment.

Federal guidelines require those random tests cover at least 50 percent of drivers, dispatchers and other employees involved in operating buses, according to Gold, who said Long Beach Transit regularly exceeds that threshold.

Drivers aren’t universally tested before starting their routes, Gold said, but any supervisor who suspects someone is impaired can send them to be evaluated.

A woman who answered a phone listed for Moreno, the suspected driver, said she didn’t think he was in a position to talk about what happened, but she agreed to pass along a message, which Moreno did not return.

Moreno was freed on $30,000 bail Monday after being booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit-and-run, both misdemeanors, according to jail records.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.
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