Passengers aboard a wine country tour bus convinced their driver to pull over, after which he was arrested in Healdsburg on Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, California Highway Patrol officials said Monday.
The CHP received a call at 5:40 p.m. Friday from passengers of a bus who reported their driver was drunk.
Eight passengers from Minnesota and Ohio had returned from a local winery to find the driver, 60-year-old Napa resident Eugene Cremens, passed out behind the wheel, according to the CHP.
The passengers had a difficult time waking Cremen, who eventually started driving but was having a difficult time staying in his lane and almost hit a big-rig, the passengers told the CHP.
After the passengers spent several minutes trying to get him to pull over, Cremens eventually stopped on the southbound U.S. Highway 101 off-ramp to Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg. CHP officers responded and noticed signs of alcohol impairment.
Cremen submitted to a breath test that found his blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit of a Class C driver. Under a new state law, drivers with passengers for hire in the vehicle can not have a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent or higher, according to the CHP.
Cremen has one prior DUI arrest in the past 10 years, CHP officials said.
The passengers were eventually picked up via a ride-hailing service to be taken away from the highway.