Kauai bus driver arrested for DUI could still be allowed to drive

Lawrence Koth

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The Kauai school bus driver arrested for driving under the influence on Thursday could be behind the wheel for several more months.

Police pulled over the 74-year-old Kapaa man after he was seen weaving down the road with children on board.

Even though Lawrence Koth lost his position as a school bus driver for the Kauai School District, his license has not yet been revoked.

Police are still waiting on test results that Koth took after being arrested for driving under the influence. They’re waiting for the results and for a decision to be made whether to revoke the Kapaa man’s license.

“He could work and drive again during that time period,” attorney Victor Bakke said.

Bakke said under the law, Koth could technically still be driving a bus since he still has his commercial driver’s license, despite Thursday’s incident.

On Thursday morning, witnesses saw a school bus weaving down a road with four kids on board. Police tried to pull over the driver, identified as Koth, but he sideswiped a parked boat and trailer.

The students were not hurt and eventually made it to Kapaa Middle School.

The Department of Education is investigating the incident, but is not dropping the contractor the driver works for.

“It’s not about any contract service for the routes that they do for the school,” area superintendent Bill Arakaki said.

It’s unclear whether Koth is still employed since the contractor, Akita Enterprises, declined to talk to us again on Friday. But it could take months before any legal decision is made.

“Is there a problem with the system?” KHON2 asked.

“The problem is the system is broken down and in normal cases or the run of the mill general cases, you don’t get a decision, final decision from ADLRO until about three to four or sometimes even six months,” Bakke said.

Akita Enterprises says it performs annual driving abstracts and criminal clearances for all staff and report that to the DOE.

The DOE says it also does background checks including criminal and traffic records.

“There’s always concern about safety for students and I’m sure we need to continue to be diligent in making sure guidelines and standards are followed,” Arakaki said.

Koth will appear in court on Sept. 18 and could face other charges in addition to driving under the influence.

Related story: Kauai bus driver arrested while taking kids to school

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