Police: Shelton School Bus Driver Admits Taking Methadone, Cold Medicine

SHELTON, Conn. — A school bus driver in Shelton who fell asleep at the wheel multiple times while transporting 30 Shelton Intermediate School students told police he had taken methadone and possibly Nyquil before working that day, according to the Connecticut Post.    

Paul Pixley

Paul Pixley

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

Paul Pixley, 55, of Derby, also told police that he had a drug problem in the past, but does not now, said the Connecticut Post.

The bus driver said he had taken 80 milligrams of methadone, an opioid used as a maintenance therapy for people with drug dependence, and may also have accidentally taken Nyquil instead of Dayquil because he felt sick that day, the Post said. Nyquil and methadone can both cause sleepiness.

Pixley was arrested Wednesday and charged with 30 counts of risk of injury to a minor, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree reckless endangerment, and reckless driving and held on $75,000 bond. 

At about 3:40 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Shelton police received a call that a bus driver was falling asleep while driving and swerving all over the road. Officers pulled over the bus, with no children onboard, on Nichols Avenue near Earl Street, police said. 

An officer spoke with Pixley, and an assistant manager of Landmark Transportation, the bus provider, arrived and drove the bus away.

Detectives determined that at one point there had been 30 children on the bus while Pixley was driving that day. He appeared to fall asleep several times while the children were on the bus, resulting in children getting off at earlier stops, according to police.

A video from Landmark Transportation shows that Pixley fell asleep behind the wheel when his bus came to a stop at the Maple Avenue and Leavenworth Road intersection on an earlier date, police told the Connecticut Post.

After the Dec. 16 incident, Shelton Superintendent Christopher Clouet sent a letter to parents and the rest of the community, informing them of what had happened and assuring them that Pixley would no longer be driving students in Shelton.

"This incident put the students on the bus in danger. Many of the students are your children!" Clouet wrote. "I, along with our school principals, our Transportation Coordinator Jim Burns, and the entire Board of Education are very upset about what happened. The driver in question will never drive in Shelton again!"

Click here for the Connecticut Post story.

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