Local News

Man Guilty of Assaulting Bus Driver, Not Hate Crime

Posted January 16, 2008 9:54 a.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2008 7:20 p.m. EST

— A jury Wednesday returned a guily verdict against a Cary man accused of assault for driving his car into a Wake County school bus driver last spring, but did not deem the incident a hate crime.

Derry Aimo Schmidt, 46, of 120 Frohlich Drive, was acquitted of committing a hate crime, assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a school employee. The jury found him guilty of misdemeanor assault on a female.

Police said Schmidt drove into the bus-unloading zone at Cary Elementary School on May 23 to drop off his daughter after classes had started and became irate when his car was boxed in by school buses.

Schmidt testified Wednesday that he asked veteran bus driver Jametta Farrar to move her bus so he could leave, and he cursed at her and used a racial slur when she didn't move.

Farrar testified Tuesday that Derry slowly drove his car into her as she stood in the parking lot, knocking her onto the hood of the vehicle. He then pulled her off the car hood and threw her to the ground, repeatedly shouting racial slurs at her, she said.

Schmidt denied driving into Farrar, saying he was parked with his brake on when Farrar sat on his car hood. He testified that he was headed inside the school to ask for help when Farrar moved further up on the hood, so he returned to the car to get her off.

Farrar grabbed his arm as he tried to "gently slide her off the hood," Schmidt said. As she fell to the ground, he said, she clawed at him and began trying to kick him.

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

Schmidt said he used the racial slur only once, and he denied race was a factor in the altercation. When his attorney asked if he grabbed her because she was black, he replied, "No, I did not."

Another bus driver and Cary Elementary faculty members testified Tuesday that they saw Schmidt assault Farrar.

Schmidt was expected to be sentenced next Tuesday, and prosecutors have recommended that he take anger management classes.