Police escort arrests Pittsburgh Pirates’ bus driver for DUI

CHICAGO — A bus driver hired to transport the Pittsburgh Pirates from Chicago to Milwaukee was charged with DUI on Thursday night after Illinois State Police troopers escorting the team out of the city noticed he was driving erratically, officials said.

After losing their game against the Cubs on Thursday evening, the Pirates boarded contracted buses for a ride to Milwaukee, where they played the Brewers on Friday night.

With a state police escort, the team headed out of town. But, around 11:28 p.m., troopers noticed something wasn’t right.

“During the escort, the bus driver, 61-year-old Ronald E. Funderburke from Shelby, NC, was not following the escort and was traveling away from the escorting officers,” an ISP spokesperson said in a written statement. “Troopers observed more erratic driving and stopped the bus on the right shoulder of Interstate 94 northbound at Dempster Street.”

“After observing multiple signs of impairment, troopers arrested Funderburke for driving under the influence of alcohol and transported him to Chicago Police Department 16th District,” the state police spokesperson said.

In an ISP radio transmission archived by crimeisdown.com, a trooper initially summoned an ambulance to the scene because they suspected the bus driver was experiencing a “medical emergency.”

Pirates Senior VP of Communications Brian Warecki confirmed the incident by email Friday evening.

“We are deeply concerned regarding what transpired last night. The important thing is that all of our personnel arrived in Milwaukee safely,” said Warecki. “Buses are contracted out to a local provider, which was consistent with this trip, and we are now in communication with the appropriate parties regarding this matter.” 

The state police spokesperson did not reply to a follow-up inquiry seeking Funderburke’s blood alcohol content.

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