Chief James M. Spinney
2 Olde North Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Chelmsford Police Arrest School Bus Driver for Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana Before High School Field Trip
CHELMSFORD — Chief James Spinney reports that the Chelmsford Police Department arrested a bus driver for operating under the influence of marijuana after a loaded school bus of high school students about to depart on a field trip complained of a strange odor on-board.
ALI MAHFUZ, AGE 63, OF NASHUA, N.H. was arrested and charged with:
- Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (Marijuana)
- Operating Negligently as to Endanger
- Reckless Endangerment
Early Tuesday morning, the Chelmsford Police Department was called by school administrators to investigate after several high school students reported to a teacher that a strange odor was present on the bus they had boarded to go on a field trip. The teacher immediately notified the principal who boarded the bus with other administrators and could clearly smell the odor of marijuana.
The students were taken off the bus and brought to the cafeteria.
Police officers arrived quickly to investigate and determined that the bus driver, identified as MAHFUZ, was under the influence of marijuana.
An investigation also determined that while MAHFUZ had not driven any of the morning bus routes at the Chelmsford Public Schools on Tuesday, he had just finished a route for Greater Lowell Technical High School before arriving at Chelmsford High School. Chelmsford Police have reached out to the Tyngsborough Police Department, where that school is located.
The bus company, North Reading Transportation Inc., is cooperating with the school department and the Chelmsford Police Department on the investigation. A company supervisor was sent to the scene with a new bus and driver to take the students on their field trip.
Chief Spinney praised the high school students for speaking up.
“I cannot overstate the role played by the students today in ensuring their safety on the roads,” Chief Spinney said. “They knew something was not right, and they spoke up right away, alerting school administrators. I commend these students for their role in stopping a dangerous situation from unfolding.”
MAHFUZ is being held by the Chelmsford Police Department pending his arraignment later today in Lowell District Court.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.