By MICHAEL MELIA
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A bus driver who suffered a seizure on a Connecticut highway with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy hockey team on board had obtained a medical clearance by hiding a history of dizziness and fainting, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday.
The driver, Terence Slowther, was ordered to not operate any commercial vehicle until he can demonstrate he is fit to drive. Slowther, 60, of Middletown, told The Associated Press he had no comment.
The cadets on the bus were credited with averting a potentially deadly accident on Feb. 9 by removing Slowther from his seat and bringing the bus to a stop on Interstate 95 in the New Haven area.
Slowther failed to report his medical condition during a DOT medical exam in December, according to the order signed Monday by DOT regional field administrator Curtis Thomas. It said he also had failed to report that he felt dizzy when operating a commercial motor vehicle in November 2010.
The bus was carrying 20 people back to the academy in New London from a men’s hockey game against the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., when Slowther fell ill. He suffered blurred vision and dizziness and was diagnosed with a seizure after he was taken from the scene by ambulance, according to the DOT.
“Drivers who hide critical medical information when applying for a license will not be tolerated by this Department,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Thanks to the quick actions by the Coast Guard Academy cadets on board, tragedy was avoided in this case, but no passenger should have to worry about their driver’s ability to transport them safely to their destination.”
Commercial drivers have to pass a Department of Transportation medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate.
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