Witnesses say parent assaulted bus driver

January 15, 2008 5:26:17 PM PST
The Wake County school bus driver who says she was hit by a Cary parent, who repeatedly called her the N-word, told her story Tuesday in a Raleigh courtroom.

Several eyewitnesses are backing up her story.

The incident happened at Cary Elementary School last May. According to prosecutors, a parent vilolently lost his temper, assaulting a bus driver both physically and with racial slurs.

Derry Schmidt spent most of Tuesday perfectly clam. He took notes queietly, observing the case proceeding against him. It's a far cry from how he allegedly acted in May.

Police say after Schmidt dropped off his daughter at Cary Elementary School, his car got boxed in by a couple of school buses. Then Schmidt allegedly lashed out at two bus drivers.

Latonya Gilbert is the other bus driver who witnessed the incident.

"He goes, get out of the way, you crazy N-word," Gilbert exclaimed.

Prosecutors say Schmidt yelled the racial slur at Jametta Farrar, the other bus driver.

In court, Farrar said Schmidt, moving very slowly, proceeded to hit her with his Toyota. The account is backed up by several witnesses.

"He hit her right behind her knees, and her knees buckled and she fell back onto his car," Shireen Mehl testified.

"Then he gets back out of his car, grabs her by her arm, then her leg and like pulls her back like on the ground, and dragged her from his door to the side," Gilbert said.

Others testifited that Schmidt them stormed around the parking lot, showing no remorse -- saying he didn't do anything.

Farrar says she was bruised and that the emotional scars have left her unable to return to work since the incident.

Schmidt's defense team claims Farrar cursed the defendant and that she grabbed him. His defense should get underway Wednesday.

Schmidt is charged with assault, assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime. Because the hate crime is a felony, the other charges are also felonies.


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