Peekskill police said that the bus driver responsible for involving 20 Hillcrest Elementary students was arrested around noon today. Joaquin Sherwood, 25, of Peekskill, was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and leaving the scene of a personal injury auto accident, both misdemeanors.
“Several students advised him they were injured as a result (of the accident) and he chose to inform them not to tell anyone about the accident,” Lt. Eric Johansen said. The accident occurred around 8 a.m. this morning. When they got to school, students told teachers what happened and some complained of headaches and dizziness. School officials immediately alerted police of the situation.
Sherwood voluntarily went to police headquarters for interviewing this morning once police were aware of the accident. The investigation revealed that the accident had occurred on Elm Street and that 20 students were on the bus at the time.
Sherwood allegedly talked to the owner of a vehicle that he accidently sideswiped and then got back on the bus and drove off. He notified his dispatcher at Mile Square Transportation, who told him to continue on his route, police said. He picked up nine more students and delivered them to school.
“Bus drivers are entrusted with our most precious asset and parents all over allow children to get on bus with drivers who have awesome responsibility to protect children they are driving,” Johansen said. “(Sherwood) had an accident, that is explainable. But to tell an injured child to be quiet and not tell anyone is inexcusable.”
Once at school, students complained of injuries – dizziness, headaches and anxiousness – and officials called police. The school nurse, Peekskill police, EMT and fire departments responded and attended to children while the school notified all parents.
Of the 20 students who were on the bus at the time of the accident, seven children were transported to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center via ambulance, nine children were transported via another school bus and four were released to their parents. (These numbers differ from an earlier article, in which we reported numbers provided by the School District superintendent. Police say these are the final and accurate numbers.)
Police charged Sherwood with the two misdemeanor charges, endangering the welfare of a minor and leaving the scene of a personal injury auto accident, and released him on his own recognizance. He is due in Peekskill City Court on Nov. 21 at 11 a.m.
Police ask anyone with information on the accident and for the other driver to please contact them at 914-737-8000.