Darryl Leon Blue, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida school bus assistant, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of strangling an autistic boy on a bus ride to school, news sources indicate. The child, 13, sustained bruises to his neck but was not seriously injured, sources indicate. Blue, 48, was booked into police custody on charges of aggravated child abuse. It is unclear whether a bail bond was set. It is also not yet known whether Blue has retained a private criminal defense lawyer .
Reports say Blue has worked as a Broward County school bus assistant for the West Glades Middle School in Parkland for nearly five years prior to his arrest. There has been no suggestion that Blue has ever been accused of wrongdoing in the past in connection with the job. It remains to be seen whether Blue has been suspended from the job as a trial moves forward. West Glades Middle School has so far not released a statement regarding the alleged incident.
According to reports, the alleged incident occurred on October 9, 2012. The 13-year-old victim was on a school bus that Blue was driving. The ride, and alleged abuse, occurred over a 40-minute period. At some point, Blue allegedly became upset with the child and began pulling on his seatbelt. Surveillance videos on the bus reportedly captured the incident on tape. Blue can reportedly be seen approaching the child, grabbing his seatbelt, and pulling violently.
The boy’s mother learned of the incident when she found bruises around the child’s neck. She asked the boy how he had gotten the bruises and he allegedly recalled an incident where a man he called Mr. Man (Blue) strangled him on a bus ride to school. The mother reported the incident to police and chose to press charges against Blue. The incriminating surveillance video footage is set to be released to the public on Friday, reports say.
The mother says the child has been emotionally traumatized by the incident. “Right now, my son is not himself. He’s very scared. Very nervous,” She told reporters. “Yesterday, he didn’t want to go to school because he kept saying, ‘I don’t want to get hurt on the bus.'” It is not clear whether the mother of the boy plans on filing for damages.
In other news, Broward College was placed on lockdown Thursday after a person was allegedly seen on school grounds with a firearm, news sources indicate. The lockdown went into effect around 1:15 Thursday afternoon and was lifted one hour later. Nobody was injured during the lockdown, sources say.
The emergency lockdown occurred when a school employee allegedly saw a person who regularly visits the school’s library carrying what appeared to be a firearm. The suspect was described as being between the age of 20 and 22 years old. Police visited the campus after the reports of the gun and searched the premises. No one matching the description given by the eyewitness was found. Police continue to investigate the incident. It is not clear whether they have any leads.