(WBIR-Knox County) The driver who crashed into an SUV and then a Knox County School bus Tuesday afternoon has been charged with DUI, and court records show he was not supposed to be behind the wheel in the first place due to a prior DUI.
According to Anderson County court employees, in January of 2012, Keith Green, 44, of Clinton, was charged with a DUI and had his license revoked.
Deputies said 45 kids were on board the bus, and six were sent to local hospitals for minor injuries.Wednesday, Green was charged in Knox County with driving under the influence, driving while privilege revoked, possession of drug paraphernalia, and following another vehicle too close.
"We do certainly take into account the presence of children," said Jamie Carter, Assistant District Attorney General for Knox County. "That's going to come into play because anytime we look at a situation, we're going to look at the specific facts of that situation. That's why we have DAs."
Carter, who could not comment on Green's case specifically, said first time DUI offenders spend a minimum of 48 hours behind bars, but penalties increase for repeat offenders.
"A second-time offender is going to have an 11 month, 29 day sentence again, but your minimum time in jail is going to go up from 48 hours to 45 days so that's the lowest amount of time that someone can serve, either in jail or also in treatment," said Carter.
If Green is convicted, a judge would also order him to an install an Interlock Ignition Device once he receives his license again.
"It is a device that goes on the car, and you have to breathe into a portable breathalyzer to be able to start your car, and also while it's while you're driving, you do a rolling retest as well," explained Carter.
Second-time offenders might also have to complete an alcohol and drug treatment program.
"It's a state-funded treatment program, where we try to catch these people at their second offense and send them into rehab. So we can do that as part of their 45 days. They can have their 28 days as inpatient count towards that 45 days," said Carter.
Minimum jail time for third-time DUI offenders increases to 120 days, with license revocation anywhere for six to 10 years.
It is a Class E Felony to have a fourth DUI within 10 years of one another, with a minimum sentence of 150 consecutive days served.
According to the Department of Safety, within the last five years, there has been an average of nearly 850 third-time DUI offenders per year.
"We can put laws into place. We can say this is what will happen to you. We can say 'Don't do that, you don't have a valid license,'" said Carter. "But ultimately it comes down to this individual and whether or not they are willing to risk a criminal conviction in order to get behind the wheel of a car."
Carter said in order for the suspect to be a repeat offender, the offenses have to happen within 10 years of one another.
Green was also charged with a DUI in Knox County in 1991.