'In this case, the ball was dropped.' JeffCo DA on Hoover bus driver's DUI plea

Mark Pierce was arrested for a DUI Wednesday evening after crashing a school bus into a ravine.(WBMA)

At the end of January, former Hoover City Schools bus driver Mark Pierce, crashed his bus just off of I-459 North. No children were on the bus at the time of the accident. Pierce would later be charged with DUI and through a breath test, it was determined that his Blood Alcohol Content was .15%

In late March, Pierce, through his attorney, applied for the Jefferson County DUI Deferred Prosecution Program. The program allows some first time DUI defendants have their charges be dropped if they successfully complete the program.

The district attorney's office said on the rules and requirements page, Pierce placed his initials on next to the following lines:

  • I hereby certify that blood alcohol content was less than .15 at the time of my arrest in the instant case.
  • I hereby certify that my DUI charge is not related to any accident involving another vehicle, personal injury or substantial property damage.

The DA's office said that when Pierce entered the plea with the deputy district attorney over the case, his BAC of .15 was stipulated to be lowered to .14. The office said the deputy district attorney should not have agreed to that. The office went on to add that the deputy district attorney made the mistake of not knowing about the near $1,200 worth of damage to the bus.

In addition, state code said that a commercial driver's license holder or commercial vehicle operator charged with the violation of traffic law should not be eligible for a deferred prosecution program.

As a result, the Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton said his office is trying to remove Pierce from the program for providing false information on the application.

"Obviously, had the correct information been known at the time of the application into the program, Pierce would have and should have been denied the benefits of the DUI Deferred Program," Anderton said. "Luckily, this information was discovered in time to be presented to the court. The district attorney's office is a team. As district attorney, I am the coach of the team, and the responsibility for this is mine. I have to assume that all of my players know how to catch the ball, and they do. In this case, the ball was dropped. I just have to teach my younger players how to catch the ball better."

Anderton said the next step will be for his office to file a motion to have him removed from the program, and a judge will set a hearing date to discuss his future in the program.

Pierce's attorney told ABC 33/40 that he was informed that Pierce was eligible for the program, and that they plan to fight the motion to have him removed from the program.

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