Local News

School bus incident poses obstacle for Wake investigators

Posted November 10, 2010 5:07 p.m. EST

— Wake County’s sheriff says investigators are taking a careful approach in trying to determine what happened on a Wake County school bus last week, in which a father claims the bus driver slapped his 5-year-old special needs son.

“The investigation is ongoing. We’re trying to make sure we uncover the right things,” Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Wednesday. “We’re not saying it didn’t happen. We’re not saying it did happen. We want to gather as much information as we can.”

Mark Tourscher says his son, Cory, and another child were playing on a bus from Wendell Elementary School Friday afternoon when the driver hit Cory.

The driver, Ashkenaz Gill, disputes the accusation, saying he has children with special needs of his own and that he would never hit a child.

Harrison said the case has an unusual set of circumstances – the children’s ages, the fact that they were the only two students on the bus, and the fact that both have special needs – and that investigators don’t want to make any mistakes.

“It doesn’t hamper us, but it throws an obstacle in the way,” he said. “We don’t want to jump to any conclusions. It’s a case that has a lot of emotion to it, but we don’t want to get involved in the emotions.”

Michael Evans, a spokesman for the Wake County Public School System, says Gill, who’s been a bus driver for the district for two years, is on paid suspension, pending the outcome of internal and criminal investigations.