Ex-Border Patrol Agent Matthew Bowen Sentenced to Probation for Running Over Migrant

H5 ex border patrol agent sentenced probation running over migrant tucson matthew bowen guatemalan antolin rolando lopez aguilar

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Tucson sentenced former Arizona Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen Wednesday to three years of supervised release and an $8,000 fine for intentionally running over a Guatemalan migrant with a pickup truck in 2017 — and then falsifying records about the assault. The man he struck, Antolin Rolando López-Aguilar, survived. Court filings show Bowen had sent a slew of racist text messages on his phone, referring to immigrants as “mindless murdering savages” and “beaners,” among other insults.

download (9)

Maine: Crystal meth resurfaces as increasingly deadly threat

A highly pure form of the drug has been flowing into the region, raising fears about overdoses and violence.

Two types of methamphetamine have found their way into Maine: on the left, a high purity crystalline form and, on the right, a pill form, photographed Friday at the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Portland.

Two types of methamphetamine have found their way into Maine: on the left, a high purity crystalline form and, on the right, a pill form, photographed Friday at the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Portland.

Highly pure crystal methamphetamine is flowing into Maine and New England at an unprecedented rate, alarming police and substance abuse recovery advocates who say the drug has contributed to added violence at Portland’s homeless shelter and an increasing number of overdose deaths statewide.

Front-line workers at the Oxford Street Shelter have in recent months seen an uptick of violent interactions with people who they suspect are using crystal meth, leading to injuries of staff and guests at the 154-bed facility. Next week, staff will receive more training to help handle the unpredictable behavior that follows methamphetamine use.

“At the shelter, we’ve seen a drastic shift over the last year,” said Aaron Guyer, Portland’s social services administrator. “What we’ve seen really is an increase of erratic and violent behavior.”

Criminal trespass notices, which can temporarily bar someone from the shelter for up to a year for breaking shelter rules, have increased 50 percent from 2018, and about half of the notices were for assault on a guest or a staffer, according to statistics released by the city.

Statewide, overdose deaths attributed to methamphetamine are also on the rise. Last year, 26 people died of methamphetamine-related overdoses, or 10 more than in 2017. In the first quarter of 2019, the latest period for which data are available, methamphetamine killed eight people and accounted for 11 percent of all drug-related deaths in that period, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

The violent outbursts that meth produces are a product of how the drug affects the body, doctors say. While heroin and fentanyl depress central nervous system and respiratory activity, methamphetamine is a powerful synthetic stimulant that rapidly produces feelings of euphoria followed by hours of energetic, obsessive behavior that can lead to hallucinations and psychosis. Users sometimes stay awake for days or weeks at a time; with extreme, long-term use of methamphetamine, drug-induced psychosis can be permanent.

“Everything is on edge and ready to go,” said Dr. Jonathan Fellers, an addiction medicine psychiatrist and medical director at Crossroads addiction treatment center who treats people with methamphetamine use disorder. “It can also lead to paranoid thinking and hallucinations, so people can misperceive what is going on around them, and maybe even act on that. People become very suspicious.”

For a 38-year-old Portland resident, Matt, methamphetamine use produced a delusion that he was doing fine and was in control of his life, when the reality was far different.

“I hadn’t worked in three months, I was about to be evicted and I lost 50 pounds,” said Matt, who asked that only his first name be used for fear he would face discrimination for his past drug use. “I could not come to grips with the truth that once I started (using) I lost my power of choice.”

Matt said his drug addiction began with pharmaceuticals that were prescribed to him by a doctor, and his first exposure to stimulants was in college, when a fraternity brother gave him Adderall, which is prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He used it to stay awake for five days during their pledge week.

Matt said he has been trying to stay clean since a family intervention in 2010 and is currently 17 months drug-free. He came to Portland in the summer of 2018 for recovery after he overdosed on a drug cocktail that included methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs. He said he’s been able to stay sober with the help of a 12-step program and now works professionally to help other people in recovery.

There are many others like him in the state. When Matt arrived in Portland in 2018, there was no meeting in Maine for people recovering from methamphetamine addiction.

“I contacted Crystal Meth Anonymous, and they said the closest was in New Hampshire,” Matt recalled.

Now, at the Portland Recovery Community Center on Forest Avenue, the crystal meth/amphetamine meetings are the fastest-growing 12-step recovery group offered by PRCC, which often hosts meetings with 50 people, said executive director Leslie Clark.

“It’s challenging because it’s just a terrible drug,” Clark said. “The impact on people physically and on their brain, the kind of psychosis and violence is more unique.”

Besides an increase in violence at the shelter, methamphetamine use has been linked to a recent high-profile assault. In July, a 37-year-old Bridgton man was reportedly high on methamphetamine and had been awake for at least two days when he beat and stabbed a couple in their 70s inside their lakefront home, nearly killing them. Police at the time did not identify a motivation for the attack, and it was unclear whether the alleged perpetrator knew the victims.

That same month, police in Portland said a man who was high on methamphetamine was hallucinating when he jumped into Portland Harbor to “cool off” before officers wrangled him out of the water unharmed. And in June, officers seized 112 grams of the drug during a traffic stop in the Bayside neighborhood and charged a Westbrook man with felony drug possession; the same man was arrested again in July, also in Bayside, with 56 grams of meth and a loaded Glock handgun.

And last month, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officers charged a Brunswick man with transporting 108 grams of crystal methamphetamine to Maine from Boston on an Amtrak train.

Users of the drug pay $80 to $100 per gram, according to the MDEA. That’s typically enough for someone to get high a couple of times, but everyone’s response to drugs is different. The cost is on par with other stimulants, such as crack and powder cocaine.

The crystals, which also are sold in pill form, can be crushed into powder and then snorted, smoked or injected. Users can become addicted quickly, seeking more of the drug to avoid the crash that comes when it wears off.

Police say the drug is flowing into the United States from Mexico, where drug cartels produce vast quantities using industrial-scale equipment, making a crystalline product that is more potent than that produced by the “one pot” method of making methamphetamine at home.

After the drugs are smuggled from Mexico across the Southwest border, Dominican street gangs in Boston, Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts, as well as Bridgeport, Connecticut, distribute them to midlevel dealers throughout New England, according to an annual report produced by the MDEA.

“It’s the same network, transportation and all, that brings us heroin, fentanyl and cocaine,” said MDEA director Roy McKinney. “Out West, they’ve been battling it for a long time. In New England, we’re seeing more of that over the last few years.”

As importation of the higher-quality drug from Mexico has increased, police have seen a decline in homemade meth production, in which over-the-counter cold medicine, pseudoephedrine and household chemicals are combined in a violent reaction. That method can produce about an ounce of methamphetamine at one time, McKinney said, and the quality is often lower than the Mexican cartel version.

MDEA agents responded to 126 meth labs or meth lab dump sites in 2016, the highest number recorded in a single year. In 2017, agents found 58 labs, and in 2018, the number declined to 51 labs, according to the drug agency. So far this year, MDEA agents have responded to 33 labs and are tracking toward another annual decline.

In the same period, seizures of the purer form of meth have increased. In 2017, MDEA agents initiated 103 meth-related investigations and seized 5.6 ounces of the drug, an amount smaller than a can of soda. Last year, agents initiated about the same number of investigations – 105 – but seized 9.9 pounds of methamphetamine, including a single seizure of more than 4.5 pounds.

Through the end of September of this year, MDEA agents had initiated 60 meth-related investigations and recovered 3.3 pounds of the drug, according to the agency.

Maine: Portland considers ban on face-scanning technology

Civil rights advocates fear the proliferating facial recognition technology will be used to conduct mass surveillance of innocent civilians without probable cause.

Image result for face recognition"

Pious Ali poses for a photo in the Portland International Jetport on Thursday before catching a flight to Washington, D.C. Ali and fellow Portland Councilor Brian Batson are proposing that Portland ban the use of facial scanning technology by city employees, including the police department. If successful, Portland would be the first community in the state, and one of a few in the country, to ban the technology.

Pious Ali poses for a photo in the Portland International Jetport on Thursday before catching a flight to Washington, D.C. Ali and fellow Portland Councilor Brian Batson are proposing that Portland ban the use of facial scanning technology by city employees, including the police department. If successful, Portland would be the first community in the state, and one of a few in the country, to ban the technology.

Apple uses it to help users unlock the latest iPhones. Facebook uses it to identify friends and family members in the photos you post. And several airlines are using it instead of boarding passes to screen passengers.

It’s everywhere. But the proliferation of facial recognition technology is raising concerns among civil rights advocates and others who fear the technology will be used to conduct mass surveillance of innocent civilians. Critics also point out the technology is less reliable in identifying people of color or women than white men, which can lead to false-positive identifications of racial and ethnic minorities in criminal investigations.

Now Portland City Councilors Pious Ali and Brian Batson want the city to formally ban the use of facial recognition technology and similar identification tools by city employees, including the city’s police department. If successful, Portland would be the first community in the state – and one of a small but growing number of cities around the country – to enact a ban on the technology.

Portland councilors are scheduled to take up the issue Monday. The discussion comes as Maine’s largest city has embraced so-called smart-city technology, which includes traffic monitoring and has stoked fears about government’s increasing ability to watch over citizens. And Portland’s police officers are now equipped with cameras mounted on their chests to capture video of each person an officer interacts with, another source of concern about privacy.

Portland’s smart city efforts so far include LED streetlights that can double as WiFi routers and sophisticated traffic management systems that can read and adjust signals in response to real-time traffic. Portland officials have expressed interest in other “public safety functions,” but so far, officials say that has not included facial recognition technology.

Ali would like to keep it that way.

“It’s a proactive way to say, ‘I don’t want this,’ ” Ali said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Portland Police Chief Frank Clark did not respond to interview requests for this story. Clark last week delayed plans for Portland’s school resource officers to activate body cameras after school officials raised concerns about student privacy.

City Manager Jon Jennings said he was looking forward to the discussion but wants to keep the city’s options open when it comes to technology that could be beneficial in the future.

“City staff is eager to follow the discussion on facial recognition software at the council meeting on Monday,” Jennings said in an email. “While the city currently does not use facial recognition, there may be instances in the future where partners at the Jetport or on the waterfront may want to implement. The city currently does not plan to utilize this technology, but there may be needs in the future. Ultimately this will be up to the City Council to decide and we will follow their direction.”

A 2016 study by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology said that 117 million Americans, or one out of every two people, already have their image in a law enforcement face recognition database, mostly from driver’s license or passport photos. At least 26 states allow law enforcement to run facial recognition searches. The report says police in Maine can search 24.9 million mugshots. And of the 52 police agencies nationwide believed to be using the technology, only four had a public policy about how the technology is used, researchers say.

Facial recognition has been around for decades, but technological advances in recent years, especially in 3-dimensional imaging, have made it more ubiquitous. While 2-dimensional images require ideal lighting and the subject to be facing the camera, new technology can allow identification of someone turned 90 degrees from the camera.

It works by essentially mapping a person’s dominant facial features, such as eye shape and spacing, as well as jaw and nose lines. The software measures the distances between dozens of reference points, creating a unique profile similar to a fingerprint. The profile is then compared to the faces in existing databases, such as those that contain driver’s license, state ID, passport photos or police mugshots. More advanced programs can also conduct an analysis of skin texture to increase accuracy and, in some cases, account for different facial expressions, facial hair or eyeglasses.

China is currently experimenting with gait recognition technology, which can allow authorities to identify a person whose face is obscured by analyzing how he or she moves when walking. The proposed ordinance in Portland would not prohibit the use of gait recognition technology, but a resolution attached to it says facial recognition and “other biometric surveillance technology” pose a threat to civil liberties.

Facial recognition technology is used all over the world, with applications ranging from airport and border security to a soccer team in Denmark that uses it to identify unruly fans.

Perhaps the most extensive deployment is in China, where authorities are using it to monitor the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority ethnic population. The New York Times reported in April that the technology is being used to track the group’s movements and alert police if a large group appears in a certain location.

In the U.S., the technology has been used to screen passengers at airports, including Miami International Airport. The Boston Herald reported in April that JetBlue was using facial recognition rather than boarding passes.

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport, said that JetBlue and Delta are using the technology at other airports, but not here.

“The (Portland) Jetport does not use this technology, but some of our airline partners have commenced facial recognition projects at other airports,” Bradbury said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a report to Congress that it is working toward full deployment of the technology within the next four years “to account for over 90 percent of departing commercial air travelers from the United States.” That system is already being used to identify noncitizens who have overstayed their visas. It compares face scans at the airport to a database assembled from existing federal images, including from passports, visa applications or previous border encounters with the U.S Customs and Border Protection.

By the end of fiscal 2018, DHS said the technology was operational at 15 locations nationwide. Since its inception, over 2 million passengers on more than 15,000 flights have been scanned by the technology, which DHS says has a 98 percent match rate. And 7,000 people who have overstayed their visas have been biometrically confirmed. The U.S. Border Patrol also tested facial recognition technology at a Texas border crossing to identify people in vehicles moving under 20 mph.

In November, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking information about how facial recognition was being used in public surveillance. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It came after the agencies did not provide those documents in response to a public records request.

In the absence of federal laws governing facial recognition, some states and local municipalities are taking action to regulate the trend.

San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to ban use of the technology in May. Since then, Oakland, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts, have followed suit. And Cambridge, Massachusetts, is considering enacting a ban on use by its city government.

The state of California this fall passed a three-year ban on using facial recognition technology in police body cameras in the state. And Massachusetts, which the ACLU says has used facial recognition since at least 2006, is considering a moratorium on facial recognition and “other remote biometric surveillance systems.”

Police in Detroit, who are led by former Portland Police Chief James Craig, spent $1 million on facial recognition software and had been using the technology for a year and half before drafting a policy on its use. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a public records request to learn more about how it is being used.

This fall, the board that oversees the Detroit police voted to restrict its use, prohibiting public surveillance and immigration checks that use the technology. The Detroit Free Press reported that facial recognition can only be used in response to violent crimes, including robbery, sexual assault, aggravated assault and homicide. One board member, Willie Burton, described the technology as “techno-racism.”

As momentum builds to restrict government uses of the technology, business groups and police associations are beginning to raise their voices to protect the ability to deploy it in the name of public safety.

In October, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with eight other technology, airport and security groups, sent a letter to Congress, urging it not to ban or pass any moratorium on the use of facial recognition. The group noted that the technology can enhance security and is becoming increasingly accurate.

“We are concerned that a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology would be premature and have unintended consequences not only for innovation, safety, and security but for the continued improvement of the technology’s accuracy and effectiveness,” the group said. “Instead, we urge Congress to collaborate with all stakeholders to address concerns raised by facial recognition technology and provide a consistent set of rules across the United States.”

A similar open letter to Congress was published in September by tech companies.

The letters came after a congressional hearing in May, during which concerns about the technology’s infringement on civil liberties were raised.

Among those to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was Joy Buolamwini, a graduate researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who founded a group named the Algorithmic Justice League in Cambridge after being misidentified by the technology.

“I established AJL to create a world with more ethical and inclusive technology after experiencing facial analysis software failing to detect my dark-skinned face until I put on a white mask,” she said in her written testimony. Buolamwini said her research showed that women of color in some cases were misidentified one-third of the time.

“Real-world failures and problematic deployments including mass state surveillance, false arrests, and the denial of working opportunities remind us of what is at stake in the absence of oversight and regulation,” she said. “Congress must act now to protect the public interest.”

Kade Crockford, director of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ technology for liberty program, worked with Councilor Ali on Portland’s proposed ban.

“Face surveillance is dangerous when it works, and when it doesn’t,” Crockford said. “The government has no business using technology that can facilitate the mass tracking of our every movement in public space – every visit to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a doctor’s office, city hall, or even just a friend’s house. But that’s exactly what this technology enables, in its most dangerous form.”

The Cumberland County Sheriff”s Office used facial recognition technology for a couple of years beginning in 2012 to compare investigative images to existing mugshots. But Sheriff Kevin Joyce said the technology only worked if they had a clear picture and the person was facing the camera. They were unable to use the technology to identify any robbery suspects because of either a poor picture quality or the camera angle.

Joyce said he hasn’t stayed up-to-date on the technology. But he cautioned against an outright ban, saying that it could be another tool, along with other investigatory work, to help police solve crimes.

“There are going to be crimes in the future that come up that we’d maybe solve a crime by having that facial recognition,” Joyce said. “If it’s used for criminal justice and solving crimes and used ethically, I don’t see there’s an issue with it. But it needs to be used ethically and correctly.”

In July, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced that the state would not grant open-ended access to the state’s Real ID driver’s license database for investigations or facial recognition scans. However, the state will conduct specific searches on behalf of federal agencies if such a search is deemed appropriate.

Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said Maine law only allows the state to use biometric technology to issue licenses or state IDs – it does not allow them to conduct facial recognition searches for outside groups, such as local, state or federal law enforcement. Staff is currently working on legislation that would allow it to conduct those searches under certain circumstances, but she didn’t know whether it would be ready for the upcoming session.

Muszynski said the rules would likely mirror an existing policy for conducting searches of its old license and ID database, where police agencies submit a written request with a subject’s name and or address in order to get a photo to confirm an identity. The investigations unit of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has processed 592 image requests this year, she said.

According to state records, the state has issued 17,815 driver’s licenses and 727 state identification cards since July 1 when it began using Real ID, which can be used for facial recognition searches.

Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, said she would like to see the state enact a moratorium on facial recognition so policies can be drafted, similar to the way the state handled police use of drones several years ago.

“No government agency should be deploying this technology without clear guidelines around protecting people’s constitutional freedoms and preventing abuse,” said Bellows, a former ACLU of Maine director. “One of my biggest concerns is that this technology can be used for massive, warrantless surveillance of public activities on a scale that we haven’t seen before.”

In Portland, some city councilors are looking to get ahead of the curve.

The ban proposed by Ali and Batson states that it is intended to “protect the privacy and civil liberties of residents.” In addition to frequently misidentifying women, young people and people of color, the councilors say the technology “may chill the exercise of free speech in public places” and “corrupt the core purpose of officer-worn body cameras by transforming those devices from transparency and accountability tools into roving surveillance systems.”

The council could vote on the ban Monday night. But some councilors have already expressed an interest in either referring the ban to a committee for additional work or to a council workshop for further discussion before voting.

City Councilor Kimberly Cook said she supports the proposal and that it would require city officials to seek permission from the council to use the technology, rather than allowing staff to implement it on their own. Cook also said the council should be playing a larger policy-setting role in the city’s entire smart-city initiative.

“To the extent that city staff are pursuing these initiatives, they should bring them to the council for consideration and guidance about whether this is a priority for the city,” Cook said. “So far, I have not been seeing that happen with smart-city technology,” including automated vehicles.

City Councilor Jill Duson said she plans to ask councilors to refer the ban to a committee because she would rather see an ordinance that’s tailored to Portland than simply adopting a standard ordinance used in other communities. Duson said she’d like the city to have a thorough discussion about facial recognition technology before setting a policy, much like it did with police body cameras.

“I would have real concerns about a precipitous ban,” she said. “But I also have concerns about precipitous implementation. For me, it has to be done in the context of our city.”

Maine: Trial begins for Justin T. Chipman, accused of kidnapping and killing Franky, a terrier-pug

Franky, a 6-year-old mix, belonged to Phillip Torrey of Winter Harbor. The dog’s body floated ashore in Hancock in the summer of 2018.


ELLSWORTH — The trial of one of the men accused of aggravated cruelty to animals in the death of Boston terrier-pug Franky, whose body washed up at the shorefront home of the district attorney last year is scheduled to start Thursday, Nov. 14.

download (4)

Justin T. Chipman, 24 and Nathan Burke, 39. Two very evil men.

Justin T. Chipman, 24, of Steuben also has been indicted on charges of aggravated criminal mischief, burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and unauthorized use of property.

As of this week, no information was available on the case status of Chipman’s co-defendant Nathan Burke, 39, of Hancock.

In arrest warrant affidavits for Burke and Chipman, Winter Harbor Police Officer Eli Brown said Burke and Chipman burglarized Phil Torrey’s home on Aug. 24, 2018 and kidnapped his dog Franky, which was later found dead.

The dog’s body, which had been wrapped in plastic, floated to Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster’s shorefront property in Hancock on Aug. 30, 2018. Brown stated in the affidavit that Franky had been shot in the throat.

Officer Brown said Burke, who was Torrey’s former sternman, and Chipman entered Torrey’s home, kidnapped Franky and took Torrey’s Hummer for a ride to a gravel pit, according to the affidavit.

Is Texas About to Execute an Innocent Man? Rodney Reed’s Family Demands Retrial Amid New Evidence

The state of Texas is facing growing calls to halt the upcoming execution of Rodney Reed, an African-American man who has spent over 20 years on death row for a rape and murder he says he did not commit. A group of 26 Texas lawmakers — including both Democrats and Republicans — have written a letter this week to Governor Greg Abbott to stop the execution planned for November 20. More than 1.4 million people have signed an online petition to save Reed’s life. Supporters include celebrities Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Meek Mill. Reed was sentenced to die after being convicted of the 1996 murder of a 19-year-old white woman, Stacey Stites, with whom he was having an affair. But since Reed’s trial, substantial evidence has emerged implicating Stites’s then-fiancé, a white police officer named Jimmy Fennell, who was later jailed on kidnapping and rape charges in another case. In a major development, a man who spent time in jail with Fennell signed an affidavit last month asserting that Fennell had admitted in prison that he had killed his fiancée because she was having an affair with a black man.


Daily Kos: Recommended stories to Follow

download (17)

ICYMI: Here are the top stories of the week so far:

The Daily Kos Recommended email includes our most read and widely shared stories from Daily Kos staff and our community. Stories about 2020 presidential candidates do not equal endorsement.

Want to write your own stories? Log in or sign up to post articles and comments on Daily Kos, the nation’s largest progressive community.

Follow Daily Kos on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team

Maine: Veteran bus driver, Richard Tanguay, carrying Biddeford field hockey team charged with OUI (DWI)

A state trooper pulled the school bus over after he observed it speeding and driving erratically, according to Maine State Police.

State Trooper Patrick Hall, who was on routine patrol, stopped the school bus around 8 p.m. on the Maine Turnpike southbound in Scarborough after he observed it speeding in a construction zone, failing to signal lane changes, and failing to stay in one lane.

According to a news release posted Sunday on the state police Facebook page, Hall stopped the bus for erratic operation and speeding. Once he had pulled the bus driver over, Hall said he observed signs of impairment. Hall proceeded to conduct a field sobriety test on the driver, Richard Tanguay, 68, of Biddeford, before transporting him to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

At the jail, state police said that Tanguay was given an Intoxilyzer breath test and an exam by drug recognition experts from the Freeport Police Department. Tanguay was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, driving to endanger and endangering the welfare of a child, state police said.

Tanguay posted $500 bail and was released from the jail. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Jan. 9 in Portland District Court.

Attempts to reach Tanguay at his Biddeford home were unsuccessful Sunday night.

School officials said the bus was carrying about 30 coaches and student athletes from the Biddeford High School girls’ field hockey team, which had traveled to Oakland for the state Class A championship game. Biddeford lost the game, 3-0, to Skowhegan High School, snapping its 35-game unbeaten streak.

According to Biddeford School Superintendent Jeremy Ray, the school department’s designated spokesman on the incident, Tanguay has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation by the school department and by state police.

“We are cooperating with the authorities,” Ray said in a statement posted Sunday on Facebook. “Authorities do not believe alcohol was a factor, but are still investigating what caused the driver’s condition. We are not able to discuss additional details as this is a personnel matter. The police may elect to share additional information with the public when the time comes, but all parties are currently working to ferret out the facts.”

“We will continue to gather the facts and interview the employee before making any conclusions about this unfortunate development,” Ray said. “But, be clear. We have zero tolerance for any behavior that imperils students.”

Contacted by phone Sunday night, Ray described Tanguay as a full-time, veteran bus driver with more than 30 years of experience. Ray said the charges filed against Tanguay are not alcohol-related.

“What we do know for sure is that this man did not take a sip of alcohol,” said Ray.

Ray said that all school bus drivers must complete an annual Maine Department of Transportation physical exam and medications screen test to qualify for a commercial driver’s license. Biddeford’s bus drivers underwent the physical exam in August, but Ray said the school department does not receive any details due to health privacy laws. All the school department gets is whether the doctor conducting the exam passed or failed the driver.

During their annual commercial driver’s license exam, drivers are required to disclose prescription medications. Doctors must determine if the drugs a driver has been prescribed will interfere with his or her ability to operate a bus, Ray said.

In addition to the annual screening tests, any employee who operates a vehicle for the Biddeford School Department is subject to random drug testing administered by a third party.

Ray said that no one on the bus Tanguay was driving reported noticing anything out of the ordinary during the ride back from Oakland.

Ray said that students texted or called their parents during the police stop, keeping them informed of what was happening. He said the field hockey coach, Caitlin Trembert, kept him informed as well. Ray in turn kept in communication with parents. He said a substitute bus driver was notified and drove the students’ bus back to Biddeford.

Saturday night’s incident was not the first one involving a school bus driver from York County accused of impaired driving. In 2010, a Saco school bus driver pleaded guilty to one count of drunken driving and two counts of endangering a child’s welfare. In December 2009, the driver was arrested after being removed from a bus as she was about to drive dozens of Saco Middle School students home. She was charged with drunken driving again after authorities learned that she had driven herself home from the police station after telling police she had arranged a ride.