3:30PM UPDATE: Arrest Report Released, New Details Below
PENSACOLA, FL (WKRG) — A school bus driver in Escambia County has been arrested for allegedly hitting a child with a hammer.
The Escambia County (FL) Sheriff’s Office says they have video evidence showing driver Jimmy Edwards striking a Camelot Academy student with a hammer, then kicking the child off the bus on Highway 98 and Fairfield Drive near busy traffic. The child received an injury to the arm, but the extent of that injury is unknown at this time.
According to the arrest report obtained by News 5, deputies reviewed the camera footage from inside the bus and heard the student call Edwards an “old man.” After grabbing a hammer from the driver’s seat, deputies say Edwards responds to the insult by slapping the student in the back of the head twice with his hand. As the student walks towards the front exit of the bus, Edwards is seen swinging the hammer several times, missing the child’s head but striking the student’s arm.
Edwards, 55, is charged with Aggravated Child Abuse and Neglect. He was booked in the Escambia County Jail on $52,500 bond.
Additionally, school bus monitor Pamela Bethea has been arrested and charged with Failure to Report Child Abuse. According to the arrest report, Bethea was seated in the school bus and witnessed the incident, but failed to act or file a report.
School Deputy Superintendent Norm Ross tells News 5 this is a “law enforcement issue.” Ross says Edwards has been suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation.
The student, whose age and identity aren’t being made public, is enrolled at Camelot Academy, a transitional school known to house students from other schools who have disciplinary and behavioral issues.