Local News

Witnesses: Man Drove Into Bus Driver, Yelled Slurs

Posted January 15, 2008 1:47 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2008 7:40 p.m. EST

— A Cary man drove his car into a Wake County school bus driver last spring and repeatedly shouted racial slurs at her as he pulled her off the hood of the vehicle, the driver testified Tuesday.

Derry Aimo Schmidt, 46, of 120 Frohlich Drive, was being tried on charges of misdemeanor assault and committing a hate crime in connection with the May 23 incident.

Police said Schmidt drove into the bus-unloading zone at Cary Elementary School to drop off his child after classes had started, and his car became boxed in by school buses.

Bus driver Jametta Farrar testified that Derry became abusive and demanded she move her bus. He then drove his car into her as she stood in the parking lot, knocking her onto the hood of the vehicle, she said.

"Her ankle area was close to his tire. He was yelling at the other bus driver," said teacher Shireen Mehl, who witnessed the incident.

LaTonya Gilbert, another school bus driver, was in the parking lot with Farrar that morning.

"He, like, goes forward a little bit, like he's trying to hit us. I said, 'Oh my God, Jametta move," Gilbert testified. "He buckled her (knees) and hit her, and then he gets out of the car, grabs her and pulls her back."

Farrar said Schmidt shouted racial slurs in her face as he pulled her off the vehicle and shoved her to the ground. The experience left her bruised and shaken, she said tearfully.

"Someone attacked me. I never thought it would happen," the 16-year veteran bus driver said.

No students were on the bus or in the area at the time of the incident.

Cary Elementary Principal Rodney Stanton said he went to the school parking lot a few minutes after the incident began.

"(Schmidt) looked angry. He was standing, looking down at the woman on the ground," Stanton testified.

Schmidt has denied the allegations. During cross-examination of witnesses Tuesday, defense attorneys asked people why they included details in their testimony that weren't mentioned when the police conducted initial interviews.

The defense was expected to present its case Wednesday, and attorneys said the case could wrap up by the end of the week.

If convicted, Schmidt faces a maximum of 150 days in jail for each of the three assault charges and three to 12 months on the hate crime charge.