CHELMSFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - A bus driver has been arrested on several charges after police said he operated a school bus while under the influence of drugs.

School administrators called officers Tuesday after high school students reported a strange odor on a bus they were boarding for a field trip, Chelmsford police said. A teacher notified a principal, who reportedly smelled marijuana after boarding the bus.

Police said about 50 Students were taken off the bus and officers determined that the bus driver, 63-year-old Ali Mahfuz, of Nashua, New Hampshire, was under the influence of marijuana.

Mahfuz was charged with operating under the influence, negligent operation, and reckless endangerment.

Mahfuz told 7News that the students would have been in danger if he had driven the school bus. Police said he had just finished a route for Greater Lowell Technical High School before arriving in Chelmsford.

Police officials said that they were “astonished” by Mahfuz’s “lack of common sense” and poor decision making.

The bus driver that employs Mahfuz , North Reading Transportation, Inc., is cooperating with authorities.

A new bus driver was sent to the school to take the students on the field trip.

Mahfuz was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Lowell District Court. Prosecutors say Mahfuz admitted to smoking marijuana.

He was released on personal recognizance.


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