A Chatham bus driver has been charged with careless driving for crashing with a child on board after allegedly drinking alcohol.

Chatham-Kent police say the school bus left the roadway and hit a fire hydrant in the 7500 block of Fifth Line in Raleigh Township around 4 p.m. Monday.

The bus is operated by First Student Canada.

"It's very disconcerting,” says Bruce Grand, location manager of Chatham and Sarnia for First Student Canada. “We're all painted with the same brush, and it bothers us, it bothers us all."

Officers believed the driver had consumed alcohol and conducted a roadside breath test. Police say the test revealed the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was in the warn range.  

The only child on the bus at the time of the crash was not hurt.

Grand says the company is working with the school board on the incident.

“Our top priority is the safety of the students,” says Grand. “This is an unfortunate incident, and we're working diligently with the school board."

The 53-year-old Chatham man was charged with careless driving and issued a three-day licence suspension. 

Chatham-Kent police say damage was estimated at $15,000. The company confirmed the bus sustained front-end damage.