1. News

Hernando High softball team needed a ride home after bus driver was arrested

NEW PORT RICHEY — The softball game was over. After a 3-1 victory Tuesday night over Gulf High School, the Hernando High team was loading onto the bus bound for Brooksville when school officials noticed something was off.

The smell of marijuana hung in the bus, a New Port Richey police report said, and the bus driver appeared to be high.

School staff summoned police, who asked to speak with Hernando school bus driver Donna Rogers. When the officers asked her to perform field sobriety tests, the report states, she "became irate, yelling and cursing."

Rogers, 59, turned away from officers and tried to walk away, the report states. Officer Donald Velsor told her to stop and tried to grab her arm, he said, but she pulled away and flailed back at him. He took her to the ground, where she kept fighting and put her arms under her body to keep officers from handcuffing her.

Officers calmed Roger enough to put her through field sobriety tests. Velsor said Rogers performed poorly, but not enough to warrant more charges.

"It was close," he said, noting she failed the walk-and-turn, one-legged stand and nose touch but did not have signs of marijuana influence, such as eyelid tremors.

Still, he said, "We wouldn't have let her drive home."

Rogers, of 16125 Fort Myers St. in Brooksville, was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest without violence. She remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Wednesday in lieu of $150 bail.

During the ride to jail, the report states, Rogers told the officer, "I'm sorry, I know I put myself here because of my temper. I was just so angry when the officer questioned me about the marijuana being on my bus. I just know one of the students was trying to set me up and that made me so angry my initial reaction was to walk away from the officer."

Parents and coaches drove the members of the softball team home, and another bus driver took the bus back to Hernando, said school board director of transportation Doug Compton.

Compton said Rogers will be placed on paid leave until the investigation is finished.