A federal judge sentenced former Bozeman charter bus driver Kevin Leon Stark to two weeks in jail Wednesday, less than the 30-day sentence recommended in the plea agreement, a federal prosecutor said after the hearing.
Judge Stephen E. Cole also ordered Stark to pay a $500 fine.
Stark and co-defendant Jack Kane Parrent Jr. were arrested June 3 after driving Sacajawea Middle School students into Yellowstone National Park. A Yellowstone ranger saw Parrent’s bus swerve over the centerline and found his blood-alcohol level to be 0.12 in an initial test and 0.091 a few hours later, according to court records.
Stark’s blood-alcohol content tested at 0.05, under the legal limit for passenger vehicles in Montana. However, there is zero tolerance for commercial drivers in federal jurisdictions.
Stark pleaded guilty and Parrent was convicted of driving commercial vehicles with a detectable amount of alcohol, a misdemeanor. Cole also found Parrent guilty of misdemeanor drunken driving after a trial during which Stark testified.
Cole noted in his remarks during Stark’s sentencing hearing in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., that Stark showed remorse, apologized and took responsibility for his behavior, the prosecutor said. Stark said he hoped it was an object lesson for his children who were in court for the hearing.
Stark’s behavior Wednesday was in blatant contrast to Parrent’s on Tuesday, when Cole sentenced Parrent to 180 days in jail, the prosecutor said. Parrent was angry and refused to take the onus for his actions, the judge had commented.
Jodi Hausen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 582-2630.