Joseph Carter, 50, of Lewis Center, was charged with felonious assault and endangering children over allegations that he broke the left index finger of a student with autism when the bus arrived at Olentangy Orange High School on Tuesday, according to court documents with the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.
Deputies with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office met with school administrators to review video footage of the incident, which reportedly shows Carter walking over to the victim, “grabbing his left hand with force causing the injury,” court records state.
The victim reportedly had visible injuries to his left index finger and was later taken to the hospital where it was determined that his finger was broken, according to court records.
Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Olentangy Orange High School Tuesday afternoon to meet with the father of the 15-year-old student, who told them that his son had been assaulted by a bus driver.
Emmanuel Olawale, an attorney representing the victim’s family, told The Dispatch that the parents related to him that Carter had told the student to take his seatbelt off. Olawale said that the student has autism, and therefore did not understand the bus driver, which is why Carter allegedly “got frustrated and decided to physically restrain him or take him out of his seat.”
“It’s heartbreaking when you hear stories like this. Especially stories about kids who cannot even advocate for themselves,” Olawale said. “It’s one thing for people to have a voice and not be heard. It’s another thing for people who have no voice. He is one of those. He has no voice.”
“They are very devastated by the situation because they have a child who couldn’t protect themself,” Olawale said. “When he got on that bus, his family expected at least the bus driver to be the one protecting him. Instead the bus driver was the one assaulting him.”
◾️The bus driver was suspended without pay.
◾️His attorney said he intends to fight vigorously to clear Carter’s good name.
◾️A judge released him from jail on a recognizance bond.