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NC man charged with DWI after allegedly driving school bus drunk

A North Carolina school bus driver was charged with driving while impaired after a test allegedly showed he had a blood alcohol content of nearly three times the legal limit while operating a bus this week, the State Highway Patrol said Thursday.

Nelson Gonzalez, a 54-year-old Sherrills Ford resident, also was charged with careless and reckless driving and misdemeanor child abuse, Master Trooper Christopher Casey said in a news release.

Gonzalez had a blood-alcohol content of .23, Casey said a test revealed. The legal limit for driving in North Carolina is .08.

Troopers stopped the Catawba County Schools bus around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the release. Someone reported seeing the driver operating the bus carelessly and recklessly on Catawba Burris Road in Lincoln County, Casey said. The road is in Denver at Lake Norman.

Gonzalez operated the bus from Sherrills Ford Elementary School, although no students were aboard at the time, Casey said.

Gonzalez was given a $2,000 secured bond after his arrest, Casey said. He was not listed in the jail on Thursday and didn’t return a phone message from The Charlotte Observer.