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Buffalo State bus driver found passed out at wheel gets probation

A shuttle bus driver who passed out at the wheel with the engine running on the SUNY Buffalo State campus was sentenced to five years probation Wednesday for driving a school bus while drunk.

Brian C. Ceroky, 55, of Harvey Avenue, Lockport, had pleaded guilty to the aggravated driving while intoxicated charge in December, and in court this week he appeared sober and expressed gratitude for the court-ordered counseling that he said has helped him work to conquer his drinking problem. Ceroky also has been wearing a bracelet that detects any alcohol use and, according to authorities, has been “100 percent compliant.”

Ceroky was arrested Nov. 1 after State University Police received complaints from students that the man driving their shuttle bus was drunk. Officer Raven Harvey caught up with the vehicle in time to see it hit a curb before pulling over to let students off. When the officer got to the door of the bus, Ceroky was asleep on the steering wheel and smelling of alcohol, likely due to the open bottle of vodka found in his bag. A breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.30 percent, close to four times the legal limit.

At his sentencing, Ceroky apologized to his employers, Gray Line Shuttle Bus, to the college and “to the student passengers on my bus for any terror they have experienced.”

“You know yourself how ludicrous this is,” said State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller. “No one is supposed to be driving while intoxicated, and you were driving college students around!”

The judge did commend Ceroky’s success so far in counseling and with his sobriety, but reminded him that if he violates his probation he could be sent to state prison. Ceroky also was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and cannot drive for at least one year.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Nash.