BULLITT CO. Ky. -- He was set to drive kids on the school bus, but now he’s off the job after facing drug charges.
WHAS11 Exclusively learned Monday that Bullitt County School leaders suspended a substitute bus driver after a felony indictment. The district acted quickly after we alerted them to the charges.
Joseph Mueller was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana in August while he was a contracted mail carrier in Bullitt County.
When he applied for a job as a substitute bus driver for Bullitt County Schools, district leaders said they didn't know he had charges pending.
“Once the matter was brought to our attention by your station that there was a felony drug charge pending, the superintendent did take this person off of a substitute bus driver list,” said Attorney Eric Farris, who represents Bullitt County Schools.
Mueller was arrested over the summer but his felony indictment didn't come down until last month.
When the district did a background check the charges hadn’t shown up yet.
“In the initial background check, that did not show up. That is correct, that is a flaw in the timing of these background checks,” said Farris. “It has been reviewed and continues to be reviewed with the assistance of the Kentucky School Board Association.”
WHAS11 talked to Mueller's attorney who says he believes the drug charges will be resolved and would like to see Mueller be able to drive buses.
Mueller could get back on the substitute bus driver list if he's not convicted and technically by law the district didn't have to suspend him because the charges are pending.
Farris said the superintendent felt he had to act.
“The superintendent was advised of it. He was in the office the human resources director took it downstairs to him immediately. The employee was notified that pending these charges he would not be able to continue in the role of a substitute driver.”
The suspension is without pay.
Bullitt County Schools has a bus driver shortage right now. If the district hadn’t learned of the charges, Mueller probably would have been in rotation as early as this week to drive the school bus.