JCPS driver accused of slamming brakes, injuring child on board


by Sherrell Hubbard

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 7:17 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-- A JCPS employee is facing assault charges after he is accused of deliberately slamming on the brakes, causing harm to an elementary school student.   

According to court documents, 60-year-old Donald Babbage slammed on the brakes deliberately, causing students to fall forward.  Allegedly, causing one child to lose her two front teeth.

JCPS Spokesperson Ben Jackey said Babbage has been an instructor for five years.  He is a Positive Action Center Coordinator at Frost Middle School.  Jackey said teachers call Babbage when they need help modifying student behavior.  

"When a teacher says I'm having trouble with a student focusing or I'm having trouble with a student who is acting out," Jackey said.  

The employee was allowed to drive an activity bus because he holds a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).  Documents obtained from JCPS said while transporting a Young Elementary School student from detention he "stomped on the brakes to show kids what happens if they don't sit down."

Court documents said Babbage “braked the bus sharply causing most of the minor children on the bus to fall forward.”  

One girl told police she hit her mouth on another student's elbow and her mouth began to “bleed and swell.”  

Police reports said dentist discovered that the child’s two front teeth had been fractured and a third tooth was loose.  The student said she had to have emergency surgery which resulted in an extraction of the two front teeth.  After a parent complaint, JCPS launched an investigation.

 Students were interviewed, as well as Babbage.  JCPS documents reveal that Babbage claimed a car had suddenly stopped in front of him and that was the reason for the abrupt stop.

"Based on other information we were able to obtain, they did substantiate that Mr. Babbage acted in a way that eventually caused injury to a student," Jackey said

JCPS responded by placing Babbage on a 10-day unpaid suspension and 90 days of probation.  His bus-driving privileges were also revoked.  

"The principal believed that that discipline was in accordance with the actions Mr. Babbage had taken," Jackey said.

The student has allegedly been fitted for dental implants, but will have to wear a bridge until she is fully developed.  

"We hope what parents will have confidence in is that when there is a complaint made that will have confidence that swift action and every effort made to try to get the truth," Jackey said

This case has resulted in three different investigations.  JCPS has concluded its investigation.   Those findings have been handed over to Child Protective Services. Babbage is required to appear in court July 16th to answer to the criminal charge of fourth degree assault.