A man who ferries schoolchildren between their homes on Smith Island and their classes in the Eastern Shore town of Crisfield has been charged with operating the vessel while drunk.

According to the state Department of Natural Resources, the Coast Guard boarded the 60-foot school boat Wednesday while the operator was taking five children to the island. The department said the operator tested positive for alcohol use and was detained until a DNR police officer arrived to arrest him and to take the children home.

Alan Wade Taylor, 49, of Smith Island was charged with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol, operating a vessel while impaired by any drug or combination of drugs and alcohol, and negligent operation of a vessel, the department said. It said the Coast Guard has temporarily suspended the operator's license and will begin administrative disciplinary proceedings.

"We take violations affecting passengers, especially children, very seriously," said Cmdr. Kelly M. Post, chief of prevention at the Coast Guard's Sector Baltimore. "I have initiated a detailed investigation and will take the appropriate measures to prevent and deter violations like this in the future."

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