Former Cumberland County bus driver accused of assaulting autistic boy

Elizabeth Derrick

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Cumberland County bus driver faces assault charges stemming from a March 3 incident involving a child with autism.

Elizabeth Derrick, 48, of Hope Mills is charged with misdemeanor assault on a handicapped person.

Court documents say Derrick grabbed the student on the upper right thigh which left bruising.

The documents also say Derrick took the student to the back of the bus by the left bicep.

She resigned from her position following the incident.

But Derrick said the 8-year-old has severe behavioral issues and he boarded her bus the day of the incident irate.

“I had to stop the bus because he was yelling and screaming and kicking and getting the other kids upset,” Derrick said. “And some children that are on the autism spectrum, they can’t stand a lot of noise cause that gets them upset.”

She hopes her attorney can clear her name.

“I did not grab that kid by his leg whenever he was squirming around in the seat and I explained all this. There is absolutely no way that I bruised him because I had to restrain him,” Derrick said.

The incident was caught on video and is being reviews by authorities.

CBS North Carolina’s attempts to speak with the mother of the child involved were unsuccessful.

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