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Hillsborough school bus driver accused of child abuse released from jail

TAMPA — The Hillsborough school bus driver accused of pushing an 8-year-old autistic girl off a bus last month has been released from jail.

A judge released Stephanie Wilkerson on her own recognizance at her first appearance in court Friday because Wilkerson does not have much of a criminal history.

Police say that on Sept. 28, Wilkerson was transporting special-needs children to Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School, near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

The 8-year-old girl was trying to get off the bus, and Wilkerson told her to wait her turn.

The girl slapped and pushed the driver. Then, as the girl walked off the bus, she stopped on the middle stair. That's when, according to Tampa police, Wilkerson used her foot to push the girl off the bus.

The student — whom police have not named — fell to the ground and fractured her ankle.

The incident was recorded by a school bus surveillance camera. Authorities are not releasing the video.

Wilkerson, 40, has been a school bus driver in Hillsborough since 2008. She is currently on paid leave.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Hillsborough school bus driver accused of child abuse released from jail 10/26/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 11:58pm]
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