Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Driver jailed and fired

He took handicapped adults to local bar

Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — A Miamisburg man whose job was to help three handicapped adults in a Hamilton group home remains in the Butler County Jail on charges that he took them to a Middletown bar and then drove them around while he was intoxicated.

        James P. McClung, 39, is charged with obstructing official business, driving under the influence and three counts of patient abuse, all misdemeanors. He is being held in the Butler County Jail on $4,800 bond.

        Mr. McClung has been fired from his job as a personal support professional at Active Learning Systems, which operates about 20 group homes.

        According to the Butler County Sheriff's Department, a deputy stopped Mr. McClung's personal van on Ohio 4 near Liberty-Fairfield Road shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday after observing it weaving. Mr. McClung's blood-alcohol level was 0.101, barely above the legal limit, deputies said.

        The three adults, who are visually and physically handicapped, told police Mr. McClung took them into the Dutch Tavern in Middletown while he drank several beers with friends. He then returned them to the van and left them there while he went back into the bar for about 30 minutes, the report said.

        Mr. McClung had worked at Active Learning for seven months, helping clients with housework, maintenance, and errands, said Angie Mick, Active Learning administrator. The three adults live alone, and it would not be uncommon for Mr. McClung to drive them places, she said.

        None of the adults was injured and it did not appear that any of them had been drinking, Ms. Mick said.

        She said pre-employment background checks are made before Active Learning job applicants are hired. Employees are also made aware of the company's zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.

        Active Learning is conducting its own investigation into the incident, Ms. Mick said.


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