Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

No charges to be filed against Pinellas bus driver for brawl

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GULFPORT — A Pinellas bus driver will not face criminal charges in connection with a fight that broke out on his bus last month.

John Moody, 64, was driving students home from Lealman Intermediate School summer classes on July 9 when police said three 15-year-old boys attacked a 13-year-old boy, repeatedly stomping on him and breaking his arm. One of the attackers stole his money, police said.

The three boys were arrested on aggravated battery charges.

Gulfport police also sent the case to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office so prosecutors could decide whether Moody should face a child neglect charge. Officers thought the bus driver may not have properly aided the 13-year-old victim.

Moody's attorney, Frank McDermott, said his client stopped the bus and radioed for help, per school district policy. He said a charge of child neglect never should have been considered.

"It was preposterous," McDermott said. "I don't think law enforcement should ever tell citizens to intervene in a violent attack. John did what he was trained to do."

During the beating, other students shot video on cellphones and uploaded footage to YouTube.

The victim told officers one of his attackers had offered to sell him drugs in a school bathroom earlier that day so he reported it to school officials.

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