Cocke Co. school bus driver arrested for DUI on the job

10:36 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
Cheryl Hembree
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A Cocke County school bus driver is in jail after authorities say they found her inside of her school bus drunk.

Sheriff Armando Fontes said the incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. in Newport behind the Newport Presbyterian Church off Hedrick Road.

He said he had received a tip that 39-year-old Cheryl Hembree, of the Parrottsville area, had just bought a 24-ounce bottle of beer. Fontes then said the caller told him Hembree had taken the bottle to drink inside of her school bus.

Detective James Holt and Cocke County School Resource Officer Randy Cutshaw were then dispatched to the scene.

The two men then found Hembree inside of her school bus with the engine running. It was there where they also found an open bottle of beer.

Upon taking a breathalyzer test, Hembree was found to have a blood alcohol content of .09. It is illegal to operate a vehicle in Tennessee with BAC of .08 or higher.

"I thank the officers for a job well done and the school system for their dedication in protecting our community's children," Fontes said.

After the breathalyzer was administered, Hembree was taken into custody and placed in the Cocke County Jail on a $5,000 bond. She is charged with DUI and violating the state's Open Container Law.

She is scheduled to go to court March 23 at 8:30 a.m.


A Cocke County bus driver is in jail facing charges for driving under the influence while working.

According to Sheriff Armando Fontes, deputies arrested Cheryl Hembree Monday afternoon in Newport while she was sitting in her running bus behind a church around 3 in the afternoon.

Deputies say they found her with a 24-ounce bottle in a paper bag, and she had a blood alcohol content of .09.

Sheriff Fontes says he thinks Hembree was on her way to pick up students from Cocke County High School.

She faces charges for DUI and having an open container.

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