HCS bus driver out of jail after being charged in connection to struggle over lunchbox
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A Horry County school bus driver made his first court appearance on Friday after Myrtle Beach police said he attempted to ‘forcibly remove’ a lunchbox from a student.
Jimmie Patterson, 75, is charged with unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person.
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Patterson, who said he has lived in Horry County since 1986, has no prior criminal record.
The victim’s mother, Ariel Phillips, addressed the court during the bond hearing, claiming her 10-year-old son has a bruised lip and swollen eye after Thursday’s incident.
“No child should ever be scared or threatened by an adult in an authoritative position,” Phillips said to the judge.
An arrest warrant states that officers reviewed video surveillance of the incident on the school bus and saw Patterson “repeatedly yanking” the lunchbox from the student.
“It was very disturbing what I saw. My son was being attacked because he had a snack on the bus, which I think is just unacceptable. Even if he was eating on the bus, you should not put your hands on a child,” Phillips said.
The judge set a $10,000 personal recognizance bond for Patterson, which means Patterson would be released without having to pay with the promise of showing up for future court appearances.
“I’m a law-abiding citizen and I will appear in court,” Patterson told the judge.
He was also ordered not to have any contact with the victim’s family. Public index and jail records show he is now out of jail.
A Horry County Schools spokesperson confirmed Patterson has been employed with the district since June 2015. He was placed on administrative leave after his arrest.
Patterson’s initial court appearance is set for 1 p.m. Friday, May 6.
Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said that his office will officially review the video surveillance from the bus, and once that’s done it’s possible the charge against him could change.
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