This story was updated Nov. 28, 2018, at 4:22 p.m. with more information.

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Michael Wayne Ledbetter

A Rhea County, Tennessee, school bus driver was charged with driving under the influence after a sheriff's office welfare check Wednesday morning.

The Rhea County school district's transportation department received several complaints from parents and students on bus 41 about the driver, Michael Wayne Ledbetter, possibly being intoxicated, the sheriff's office posted to its Facebook page.

The schools' transportation supervisor Ronnie Holloway radioed the bus, which was on its way to Rhea County High School, and told Ledbetter to pull over on Highway 27 just north of Rhea Medical Center, the post read.

Sheriff's deputies arrived a short time later and spoke to the driver, who had an odor of intoxicant on him.

Ledbetter complied with a series of field sobriety tests and agreed to submit to a a blood alcohol/drug screen.

It's not clear what kind of behavior Ledbetter was exhibiting in order for children to become concerned and call their parents, detective Rocky Potter said during a news conference.

At the time of the stop, Ledbetter had 27 students of varying ages on board, Potter said. The bus usually carries up to 40 students.

Another bus was brought in to transport the remaining students, and some parents picked their children up.

"Because of the incident in Chattanooga, everybody is aware of these types of things," Potter said. "It's not something that happens on a regular basis. It is very concerning as a parent."

Ledbetter was taken to the Rhea County Jail and charged with driving under the influence with a child under the age of 18, felony reckless endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia. Potter could not offer more details about the drug charge.

A court date and bond has not yet been set.

Rhea County Director of Schools Jerry Levengood said Ledbetter has been terminated.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.