It was a Sunday afternoon in September, when several calls were made to the police to report an MTA bus weaving from lane to lane on the Northern State Parkway in Nassau County, Long Island. A trooper in Farmingdale, NY pulled the bus over, and he found Alexander Copeland behind the wheel. Mr. Copeland has been employed by the MTA as a bus driver for 17 years, and currently is assigned to a route in Queens.
The officer says he smelled alcohol while speaking to Copeland, and apparently administered one or more field sobriety tests. One report also states that Copeland failed a breath test, blowing a 0.20, far above the legal limit. Sure, it is a bit odd to find an MTA driver allegedly drunk behind the wheel of a bus. But the story becomes downright strange when you consider that it was Copeland’s day off! Apparently, the bus was parked on the street outside a Jamaica bus depot, because the facility does not have room for all the vehicles. But questions still remained about how the incident occurred.
Apparently in an effort to avoid further tarnishing his reputation, Copeland held a news conference, accompanied by his attorney and his wife. While Copeland did not say anything during the conference, his attorney stated that this was not a situation where Copeland just decided to get on the bus and go for a joy ride. However, the case still remains somewhat puzzling. Why did Copeland get on the bus in the first place? Did he think he was working that Sunday? The attorney indicated that they were going to take a look at Copeland’s medical history to try to understand what happened and why.
Issues of understanding the psychological underpinnings of the case aside, Copeland is now facing charges of DWI, as well as reckless endangerment. He has also been charged with second degree reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor. An arraignment will be held in the case later this month.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016