Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
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Arrested bus driver says she was set up

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NEW PORT RICHEY -

A Hernando County school bus driver charged Tuesday with resisting arrest without violence, told police she was just upset about being blamed over suspected marijuana use, and that one of the students tried to set her up, according to an arrest report.

Donna Mae Rogers, 59, of Brooksville, drove Hernando High School’s Lady Leopard softball team to Gulf High School on Tuesday night to play against the Lady Buccaneers. Rogers agreed to perform field sobriety tests, and was never charged with DUI.

Hernando High employee Robin Bailey, 44, is listed in the report as the complainant and one of “several other people” who approached two New Port Richey police officers at the school who were there in response to an unrelated call.

Bailey and others claimed their bus driver, Rogers, was impaired and “appeared to be under the influence.”

Bailey also told responding officers that the bus smelled like marijuana, according to the report.

Rogers was still in physical control of the bus when the officers asked her to step out and talk to them behind the bus out of public view.

Rogers complied, and when one of the officers explained what they were told and asked Rogers if she’d perform field sobriety tests, Rogers “became irate, yelling and cursing.”

“I’m sorry, I know I put myself here because of my temper,” Rogers was quoted in the report as saying while being transported to the Pasco County Detention Center for the resisting arrest charge.

“I was just so angry when the officer questioned me about the marijuana being on my bus … I just knew 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.”

Rogers was released from the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon on $150 bond, jail records show. Rogers could not be reached for comment.

After being asked to perform field sobriety tests, Rogers turned away from the officer and “attempted to storm off,” the officer wrote, adding that this hindered the officer’s investigation into possible DUI.

The officer gave verbal commands for Rogers to stop, but she did not, and when the officer attempted to grab her arm “she pulled away in a violent manner and flailed her back.”

“I just snatched away because I was angry about what was going on,” Rogers was quoted. “My first reaction was to pull away.”

The officer gained control of Rogers by grabbing her arm and putting her in an arm bar maneuver, the report shows, and onto a nearby table where he tried to put her in restraints.

Rogers resisted and began to fight with the officer, spun around and faced the officer in “an aggressive manner,” at which time the officer put Rogers in another arm bar maneuver and took her to the ground, the report shows.

“On the ground Donna kept refusing to cooperate,” the officer wrote. “She kept placing her arms under her body in an attempt to resist being placed in handcuffs and arrested.”

With the other officer’s assistance, Rogers was placed in handcuffs, and several minutes later agreed to submit to the field sobriety tests.

School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said Rogers will remain on suspension from duty until a forthcoming sheriff’s office investigation, and then determine an appropriate course of action.


mreinig@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5271

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