Driver accused in fatal Clark County school bus crash denied lower bond

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A judge Monday rejected a request to reduce the bond of the driver accused of causing a crash with a school bus, killing one student and injuring about two dozen children.

Hermanio Joseph, 35, faces a $100,000 cash or surety bond for a fourth-degree felony vehicular homicide charge. Judge Daniel Carey last week cited Joseph’s risk for flight as the reason for the high bond.

The case was scheduled to go in front of the grand jury today, where Joseph may face additional charges.

If he posts bond, he will not be allowed to leave the county and will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device.

Investigators said Joseph was driving a 2010 Honda Odyssey about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 4100 block of Troy Road (Ohio 41) at Lawrenceville when his minivan went left of the center line into the path of an oncoming school bus with 52 students and the driver aboard.

The bus driver attempted to avoid the Honda by driving onto the shoulder, but the bus still collided with the minivan. The bus and van went off the side of the road, with the bus rolling over.

Aiden Clark, 11, was ejected and died on the scene, and another student suffered life-threatening injuries. Dozens more children were injured and taken to area medical centers for treatment.

Visitation for Aiden on Sunday at Fellowship Church drew long lines of people waiting to offer condolences. Gov. Mike DeWine attended.

Funeral services were held Monday at the church. Dozens of schools buses from districts in Clark County and around Ohio were in the parking lot.

Joseph faces six to 12 months in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, according to court documents.

He presented to law enforcement a driver’s license from Mexico, which was invalid due to his immigration status, which Morris said also is under investigation. He also had an Ohio identification card.

“The crash was a result of (Joseph) driving left of center, striking the school bus, forcing it off the roadway, down an embankment where it overturned and came to final rest,” a court document stated.

Joseph was taken into custody at the Clark County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Assistant county prosecutor Greg Morris said last week that Joseph is registered as a Haitian immigrant in the state of Florida.

Joseph and his passenger in the minivan were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Charges are not anticipated for anyone other than Joseph, Morris said last week.

All children who were hospitalized following the incident have been released.

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