Local News

Bus Driver Assault Nets Man House Arrest

Posted January 22, 2008 8:07 a.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2008 4:26 p.m. EST

— A Cary man convicted of assaulting a Wake County school bus driver last spring was placed on house arrest Tuesday and ordered to attend anger management classes.

Derry Aimo Schmidt, 46, of 120 Frohlich Drive, was sentenced to 75 days in jail, which was suspended to 25 days under house arrest. He also was ordered to undergo a mental examination and attend anger management classes and was told to stay off Wake County public school property unless he obtains a principal's permission.

A jury last week found Schmidt guilty of assault on a female in connection with a May 23 incident outside Cary Elementary School.

One reason Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback ordered the mental exam and the anger management classes was that jurors wrote him a note last week saying they thought Schmidt could pose a danger to society if he didn't get his temper under control.

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

Schmidt testified during the three-day trial 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 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 she grabbed him and tried to kick him as he moved her off the hood and she fell to the ground.

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

Jurors acquitted Schmidt of committing a hate crime during the incident. They also found him not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a school employee.

Schmidt apologized to Farrar at his sentencing for using the racial slur, but he maintained that race wasn't a factor in the altercation.

"I was angry that day. I think anyone would have been angry," he said after the sentencing. "I don't think I have an anger management problem."

He went on to accuse Farrar of lying about the incident before apologizing again about the racial slur.

"She was extremely hostile, belligerent, antagonistic," he said. "I yelled at her. I used curse words. I used the 'N-word.' I publicly apologized for that. I'm sorry, Jametta. I'm sorry to everybody in North Carolina. I regret having made that statement."

Farrar said she doesn't think Schmidt's apology was sincere.

"He continued to lie about it. He continued to (say) the same thing that did not happen," she said.

As part of his house arrest, Schmidt will be allowed to meet with his attorney. He has a pending legal dispute with the state Department of Transportation, which fired him as a traffic engineer after his arrest last spring.