Out of state tourists had a sobering experience in Healdsburg as their wine tour bus driver was arrested for DUI.
A day of wine tasting in Sonoma County turned sour when a tour bus driver drove drunk says California Highway Patrol Officer Kimberly Lemons.
“They head back to the van and find him asleep. Essentially passed out behind the wheel,” said Ofc. Lemons.
The driver took off southbound on Highway 101 with eight people on board Friday evening.
“He was having trouble maintaining his vehicle within the lanes and at one point he almost hit a big rig,” said Ofc. Lemons.
The tourists, from Minnesota and Ohio forced him off the freeway at Old Redwood Highway.
“If I was one of the people that was on the bus I’d be very disappointed in company that I had paid keep me safe,” said Joe Difebo, a tourists visiting Healdsburg from Huntington Beach.
CHP says the company is Napa Valley Wine Country Tours and the driver, 60-year-old Eugene Cremen. Investigators are looking into his role with the company. ABC 7 reached out for comment, but has not heard back.
ABC 7 News Reporter Katie Utehs spoke with a driver from another company. He says that drivers must have their CDL permit and they’re subject to random drug testing. He says as far as prior DUI’s on your record that policy varies company to company.
CHP says Cremen has a prior dui conviction within the last 10 years. This time his blood alcohol level was about three times .08 limit for regular drivers. Now he’s being held to a higher standard. A new law recently implemented in July.
“Anyone who is being hired to drive someone and transport passengers cannot be over .04 blood alcohol content,” explained Ofc. Lemons.
Officers arrested Cremen on scene. The tourists had to call rideshares to pick them up.