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Vanpool driver charged with DUI
8 passengers were riding in the commuter van headed for Spotsylvania.

Date published: 8/23/2010


By KELLY HANNON


A commuter vanpool bound for Spotsylvania County made an unscheduled stop along Interstate 95 southbound Friday afternoon when the van’s driver was pulled over by Virginia State Police and charged with drunken driving.

Eight passengers were riding in the commuter van, said Sgt. F. L. Tyler, Virginia State Police spokesman.

The van had collected passengers in downtown Washington and Rosslyn after work and was traveling to a commuter lot at Gordon Road and State Route 3.

A caller contacted state police around 5:45 p.m. to report a commuter van on I–95 southbound operated by a driver possibly under the influence, Tyler said.

A state trooper already in the area spotted the van and followed it for approximately one mile and observed the vehicle weaving, Tyler said.

Based on the driver’s behavior, the trooper stopped the van, Tyler said.

The van was stopped on the right side of I–95 about one mile south of the Aquia/Garrisonville Road interchange in Stafford.

William Blaine Larimer, 57, of Spotsylvania, was charged with driving under the influence-second offense, failure to take a blood or breath test, and failure to obey highway markers, Tyler said.

The van, a 2006 Ford, is owned by Commuter Express Inc. in Stafford, Tyler said.

Commuter Express owner Dan Fields said Larimer will no longer drive any of his company’s vanpools.

Fields said Larimer is not a company employee. Like all of the vanpool drivers on the routes, drivers are vanpool riders who volunteer to occasionally drive, Fields said.

That is the case throughout the vanpool industry, Fields said.

Fields did not know if Larimer received a fare discount for driving.

His company’s insurer, Lancer Insurance, runs a background check on all potential vanpool drivers before they can begin driving, Fields said. About 1 in 10 drivers are denied based on this check, he said.

In addition, Fields encourages vanpool passengers to report any concerns anonymously about driver behavior, such as speeding or reckless driving. Fields said.

He has removed drivers from driving vanpool routes before over passenger concerns, but said he had never had a complaint about Larimer.

Fields said his insurance company also failed to report Larimer’s previous DUI charge, and that he was unaware of it.

Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436
khannon@freelancestar.com