Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Man arrested after allegedly driving Duluth Denfeld boys basketball team bus drunk

Jan 02, 2022 06:44AM ● By Editor
Photos: Fox 21 News

By Arman Rahman of Fox 21 News - January 1, 2021

A frightening ride back home for the Denfeld Boys Basketball team Thursday night, who discovered on the road back from Hibbing that their coach bus driver was allegedly driving them drunk, according to coaches.

“He just kept repeating everything he was saying and we were like it’s clear that something is not right and having these kids on bus, on the bus with us, we’re not in a good situation here,” said Head Varsity Coach Phill Homere.

Homere said he’s happy his eight players made it back to the school alive and unhurt, however many remained paranoid about getting on those contracted coach buses in the near future.

In an interview with FOX 21, Homere identified the 47-year-old driver from the St. Louis County Jail roster.


Homere says on the way to the game in Hibbing Thursday, the driver ran into a stop sign but wasn’t too phased.

Then on the way back, after saying he lost his phone, missing clear navigation instructions, and repeating alarming phrases that didn’t make sense, Homere said coaches knew they had to ask the driver to pull over.

“He seen the lights of the plow truck and when he see the lights he thought it was the cops, and he stated ‘that must be for me’,” Homere said. “And we were like what do you mean that must be for you? Because we didn’t notify him that we were gonna call the cops. So by him making that comment it let us know that something is clearly not right.”

“The first thing I was thinking, I was like alright we need this bus to stop, but like with the weather going on it wasn’t one of those things where you could just pull off to the side of the road,” said the head coach.

Meanwhile throughout they texted parents their location and any updates. Those parents then contacted the authorities from where they were.

After exiting the highway and pulling over in cotton, Homere said they gave the driver a bottle of water and talked with him outside while the players stayed inside. Parents came and picked them up later on.


The Minnesota State Patrol came shortly and, Homere said, the driver had a blood alcohol content way over the legal limit.

According to the head coach, he claimed he drank vodka the day before, and day of the trip.

“And that just like it baffled us because we were like so you decided to just put our lives at risk like you could’ve told us this when we just got on the bus,” said Homere.

“I’ve already had a few parents who are paranoid thinking about in the future well should I trust having my kids getting on another coach bus knowing of the situation we just dealt with?” he said.

The Minnesota State Patrol arrested a 47-year-old in Hibbing Thursday night, who Homere identified as the bus driver.

He’s pending four counts of driving under the influence, and one of possessing an open bottle of alcohol. That man is currently being held in St. Louis County Jail.

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to theFox 21 News website.