Father claims bus driver attacked son who has autism

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An area father claims his son was beat up by his bus driver. Now, that bus driver is going to trial to face the charges against him.

Scott Brown said it’s obvious his 14-year-old son, Jacob, was beaten.

“You could tell and it looked like he had been beaten, because he had,” said Scott Brown.

Brown said Jacob’s physical scars have healed, but the emotional wounds are still very raw.

“He told me he had been dreaming that he was on the bus and that he was getting beat up again,” said Brown.

Jacob has severe autism.

“It is really complete immersion parenting,” said Scott Brown.  “It is 24/7, it is continuous supervision.”

In March of last year, Jacob was on the bus headed home from Blue River Valley High School.  Bus driver Billy Sorrell was behind the wheel.  After being told repeatedly to move, Jacob refused to sit in his assigned seat.  According to witnesses, that was when Billy Sorrell lost it.  Sorrell put the bus in park and walked back to where Jacob was sitting and forcibly moved the teen into the correct seat.

“DCS had taken pictures of his head, he was clearly missing hair,” said Scott Brown.  “They did not photograph him until the next day, that is when I talked to the school board.

“Still, the next day he had purple marks on his leg, it was the the shape of Bill’s kneecap in Jacob’s thigh there, where he had been driven into the wall of the bus while he sat there.”

Sorrell’s is not talking, but he told investigators on that March afternoon that Jacob told him, “you touch me and I’ll kill you.”  Sorrell said Brown “threw himself into the side of the bus,” then slapped Sorrell across the face.  Sorrell said he grabbed the boy’s hair because he thought Jacob might “head-butt” him.

Sorrell is charged with a felony count of battery.  Scott Brown said no matter what his son allegedly did, he did not deserve what Sorrell dished out.

“To grab a child as disabled as Jacob and physically assault them, that means there really is not that much that I would not fathom this guy doing to a student on a bus,” said Brown.

Brown said his family’s biggest fear is that Sorrell could one day be back behind the wheel.

“If he returns to driving a bus there could be children in a hospital, or even funeral services for children that were not protected from this guy,” said Brown.

The 14-year-old is now home-schooled.  Witnesses said Sorrell did not stop assaulting Jacob until other students jumped in.

Sorrell’s trial is set for Feb. 25.  The Henry County Prosecutors Office told Fox59 they are confident the case will go to trial. There will be no plea deal.

69 comments

  • Josh

    I agree with what the bus driver did! This kid would not listen and how do we know he is autistic? Kids these days know they can get away with anything and also know that if they don't want to work after school drawing unemployment is a way of life now. Thanks Liberals, your making an impact on society but not the type of impact to help the cause! I stand behind the actions of Mr. Sorrell, if it were my child I would ask," did you deserve it and did you learn your lesson"? Discipline does not exist anymore and I challenge anyone to tell me I'm wrong!

    • Kd1

      you are dumber than a box of rocks! a child just doesn't get autistic over night moron they're born with it so he's been autistic all his life! Not to mention you sound like some one who is not a parent at all, Talk to parents of autistic children matter of fact go volunteer to be around them all day. They can't be disciplined like a non disabled child. YOU have to do it differently, You need to go research what autism is because it's obvious you have no clue.. ALSO Your Challenge is accepted MY CHILDREN who are not disabled are Disciplined they know what a belt to the behind is!, They do NOT know what a time out is, They do KNOW what a grounding is, and what it means when they lose every electronic in the house!

      • Josh

        Where is the credibility of this kid being autistic? Why wasn't he on a special bus and why wasn't there a staff member from the school sitting next to him if he has a disability? These are all questions that will be asked in court!

      • Diilion

        Just because a child is autistic or has down syndrome (or any other condition) doesn't mean they ride 'the short bus' and having someone 'sit next to him' is not something that happens!! School fundings have been slashed and the districts cannot all afford to run an additional bus-They all have a bus to transport children with physical disabilities such as a wheelchair or walker.

      • Billie

        Unfortunately, not all townships/counties have the "special buses" that you mention.. The "credibility" of him being autistic? really.

      • Qweag

        Since "they cannot be disciplined like non disabled children" maybe we shouldnt be streamlining them in with normal children ?

      • Rychele

        What is "NORMAL"????? Think before you speak. And maybe we should put our children in cages also…UNBELIEVABLE!!! Stupidity is everywhere!!!!

    • DrStudent63

      seriously? are you a child abuser too? or simply stupid, witnesses stated he did not quit until other students pulled him off. Get a life dude what would you do if it was your child? oh wait yeah you would beat on him too since you agreed. I would ask my normal child those questions, no wait. AMytime an adult places a hand on a child in a manner that physically or emotionally harms them is guilty of child abuse. Why would any abused child deserve it?

    • Dillion

      It's a good thing this is a public forum cause I have some choice words for you … You almost sound like you're the bus driver getting on here trying to defend himself. How about the fact that chances are you are a child abuser or you're one of those sick fks who would let someone beat and rape your very own children, if you even have a kid, which I'm sure you don't-and if you do, CPS needs to take him/her away from you. YOU ARE WRONG ''JOSH''

      • Josh

        Very harsh words for someone just expressing their right to free speech! I have 2 children and I am a wonderful father so please just because I feel there is more to this story than what was said by a father in defense of his child does not mean those are the facts! Let Mr. sorrell give his side or possibly what really happened a chance. I remember something happening a month ago with an autistic boy and 26 people died so what happened on this bus is could have possibly gone that far but now everyone is jumping to conclusions saying this bus driver is an evil man? And No I am not the bus driver I am a realist and think there are 2 sides to every story!

    • Randy

      Josh, Liberals??Dude, Im as conservative as it gets, you are a total her, Pretty obvious that you have no idea what Autism is..

      You sir need to be educated, I understand that internet is sluggish at the tailer park,but go to a library

    • Tim

      As a father of an autistic child, I for one can tell you that this type of behavior by the bus driver is completely unacceptable. What he did was battery not discipline!

    • Concerned Mom

      How old are you? You sound ignorant! Until you are a parent and a parent of a child with autism, you can not judge. This is wrong on many levels, regardless of whether the young man had autism.

  • Jason

    If he’s “severely handicapped” with ” serious autism” how the hell change say if u touch me I’ll kill you????

    • DrStudent63

      Severly autistic means non-verbal to only slightly verbal. Which means they do not speak or simply repeat what they just heard. If the kid was severly autistic, then the bus driver said it to him first.

      • MindfulWhisper

        Severely autistic does not mean that… My son is severely autistic and is very verbal, but he can not communicate the way other kids do… He most generally parrots movies and there are a lot of times that you can not understand what he is trying to tell you, but he's getting better… I had several similar incidents with the school my son goes to… except the incidents were covered up to the point where the bus driver he had actually disappeared and I was unable to find out exactly what happened…

      • MindfulWhisper

        The bus driver and the bus he was on changed the next time he went to school, I couldn't get any answers… about any of the incidents… and they will not allow a therapist at the school with him all day long… I spent a year and a half working with IPS to get him a therapist with him all day long because he needed one and then thought I was doing a good thing by moving him to a different school district (going through the stress of the change of moving him because any change stresses him out and causes major anxiety) because I thought it would be better because that was what I had been told…. and now I am homeschooling him…

      • MindfulWhisper

        All of the things he has gone through make me wonder how many offenders in the Correctional system are autistic and are placed in a situation (within the prison system) where they are parrotting people who exhibit those behaviors and are never fully diagnosed with autism… None of this is right, especially the fact that society doesn't know enough about the diagnosis… .

      • MindfulWhisper

        No one knows unless a parent has to actually live with it and see what their babies are going through… what the kids don't understand and how people take advantage of the kids not being able to express themselves to get away with hurting them or how school systems are allowed to just babysit them… my son is doing so much better since I took him out of school, but I want him to be around more kids, but I don't want him to go through the hell he's been through again… and I will never know about any of the incidents because of the lengths the schools have gone to to protect themselves what's happened to him so I don't know if I will ever be able to help him…

      • MindfulWhisper

        So many parents I've talked to have gone through this, the schools knew we didn't have money to sue them, they use anything they can to not be held responsible and make the parents feel like they are at fault even though the parents work hard to make sure the school is working with them to begin with… it's just not right and someone needs to give a care and not for financial reasons, but to change it

    • Billie

      My niece is autistic and still speaks. You must really not know much about this subject at all. There are all types of autism. The child was repeating what he had heard the bus driver telling him to his father –

      • Josh

        How do you know that he is repeating what the driver said? He has more interaction with his father at home in one night than he ever would with the bus driver the entire time would ever be in school. Children do and say what they see their parents do, not bus drivers!

  • Anonymous

    Very wrong. Autism is something seen quite a bit now days & needs to be delt with the right way. Children with this disease need understanding by those in charge of them.

      • Josh

        Ignorance is defined by by someone's views of a situation by not having the same views now? Jumping to a conclusion on one article instead of gathering all of the facts is ignorant!

      • Josh

        Funny you should say,"ignorance breeds ignorance". I watched the clip and if this kid is anything like his father your statement holds true!

      • DrStudent63

        WHat I said was ignorance breeds ignorance. Since you have all the facts are you aware that a severly autistic child has no verbal skills or is limited to repitiion of what was just said from another? SO now that YOU know the facts, that child would not have said that comment and even if he was high functioning it would not, no could not have been formed in such perfect sentences. Now, go do your research and forget about the trial. Expand your knowledge on AUtism since you are so openly one of those that are afraid of it.

      • Josh

        Read higher in the posts, I am questioning the validity of this kid being autistic. And no I do not have all of the facts so the driver deserves a fair trial! Thankfully you will not be a jury member!

  • Josh

    Did I miss the trial? I thought it was Feb. 26 the media has made Mr. Sorrell out as a villain and they haven't even gone to court! He will be found guilty for sure then he will sue for unjust media coverage before the trial and win, wasting taxpayer money! Just wait and see…

  • guest

    It is true the wife was on the bus. There were not cameras on the bus at the time. They have been installed since then.

  • Steven

    I ususally do not comment. I do not have a disabled child but I would do the same for any child and that is protect them at all costs. I beleive in being strict but not physical. Cross the line yes, go to jail yes and let bubba, your new wife behind bars, give it to you the hard way and leave bruises on you big boy.

  • guest

    This "child" was physically larger than Bill. He was violent both at school and on the bus, and lets not forget that he struck Bill first. Yes, Bill should have been able to control himself better, but he is in no way a monster or a bad person. The kid was supposed to sit by himself to keep him from harming other students, and lets not forget that he threatened to kill people both at school and on the bus. If it were me, and that kid started in on one of his "fits' and struck me in the face, I would have fought back too. People need to stop spewing out hateful garbage about a man they do no know.

    • Just Saying

      Why then did the driver not stop until other students stepped in to make him stop? If his wife was on the bus and did nothing could it be because she was afraid of Bill? Has he beaten on her before? Just wondering

    • Josh

      Finally someone here can see the light of the situation. This almost like the travon Martin case, the media posted pictures of a kid when he was 10 and the incident happened when he was 17. It made him look as if he were completely innocent and failed to mention he had been in and out of trouble for the better part of 5 years. Who knows exactly what happened that night but the guy who shot him was made out to be the bad guy and travon an innocent kid. More information is going to be givin on what happened leading up to the trial for the bus driver…

  • Steven

    Agreed I do not know the bus driver, but it seems like you do. My comments are my own and if you can not handle the stress or what may happen when you drive a bus then get out. Bus has a camera now, so lets blame the school for this, wife was on bus so lets blame her for not stepping in, let blame the child for not missing school that day. All I am saying is be accountable for you actions. The kid not sit in the proper seat, big deal, this does not deserve abuse. Let the courts decide.

    • Josh

      Here is my theory, why would the driver beat on the kid if he were in the wrong seat? And not just make the kid who was supposed to sit where he was sit somewhere else? If he knew this kid was autistic I am almost positive he would avoid the conflict and not slam on the brakes in the middle of a busy road and make an autistic kid move from one seat to another? Are we talking about rosa parks here! There is a whole lot more to this story and maybe his wife was afraid of this kid? I do not see any logic for the driver to go Irate because an autistic kid is in the wrong seat, just make the kid who was supposed to sit there go somewhere else because he or she will be able to comprehend it better than an autistic child, story doesn't make sense the father is telling?

      • guest

        He did not slam the brakes on a busy road. The school is out in the country. He pulled over on a country road that is on his route. He stopped the bus, got up from his seat and proceeded to grab the boy.

  • Mondo714

    I have been a bus/van driver for people that are mentally or physically challenged in autistic clients. And I will say this, I ONLY used force as a LAST resort, nothing more, nothing less. I have had black eyes and yes , been hit by a person lashing out without using hurtful force back at them. Now what is hurtful force, 1st, I attempt to get the rest of the people away from the combative person, then attempt to calm them down, even after being hit or struct by an object. Police was always called, and as little restraint as possible was used until the police arrived IF POSSIBLE. Now when force has to be used, take them down without doing as much harm to them and yourself as possible and CONTROL your rage which can be hard especially after being struck more than once. It is always a touchy situation for all involved, and hopefully the truth comes out and if this driver did do wrong, he will NEVER be able to transport again. I was in the field for almost twelve years, and only had to use restraint five times, and received two black eyes, some busted ribs, and a sore knee, and a few bumps on the head, so don't necessarily jump the gun blaming the driver until all the facts are out. News loves to stretch stories. Now from what I have read, the driver did do wrong, but like I said, let all of the facts come out first, you do not know unless you was there…..

  • guest

    Wow what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty! That some of you say such mean hurtful things, doesn't make you any better than the man you accuse.

  • Quigley

    First the child was not bigger than the bus driver.Second what the child does or doesn't do in school is not the issue. Thrid if the driver was slaped in the face,then he had to be in the childs face and probably had a hand full of the childs hair. If so the slap was self defense. If I was that child the bus driver would have been thrown under the bus and I would have been in the drivers seat.

  • Joe

    Billy Sorrel has a history of volience againist kids in general. PULL HIS records!! There has been lots of complaints

  • bob

    Comments are being deleted. Fox is known for sensationalism and flat out exaggerating the news. They also have adminstrative privledges over the comment section, where interestly enough, the majority of the posts regarding pro Sorrell or questioning Fox and their "investigative journalism" were removed mysteriously. There has been no trial and he is already made out to be the worst guy in the world.

  • Ann

    Let's just all pray that the TRUTH will prevail. Just because someone is accused of something, does not make it true. That goes for BOTH sides of this story! We should let the evidence convict or clear both sides, not biased opinions that are based on hearsay and/or rumors.

  • Mike

    I have known Bil Sorrell before our high school days. He is married with 3 children. As christian beliervers, Bill and his wife never lay a hand on his daughters or the grandchildren, nor would condone that type of dicipline for others. The news staff at Fox has allowed statements made by the boy's father that are blown way out of proportion. So far out of reality it is sickening and as a result, I question the father's character. As for Fox letting this garbage hit the public to draw their own conclusion of the accusations, is a misrepresentation and will only help Bill during the trial.

  • guest

    I know the situation being discussed. It would have helped if Fox News had done their homework and found that Department of Children's Services were called in and found the whole situation "unsubstantiated". Funny how only one side of the story is represented here.

  • Doug

    Wow, lots of arrows being thrown back and forth. I am a father of an autistic son. I strikes me that we do jump to conclusions on things we read on internet news site. BUT, I would say without question. Teachers, adminstrators, bus drivers, other parents have NO rights to even touch students. That is the way of the world that we live in now people. So, if you are "normal" or autistic…it doesn't matter, don't touch them. Also, lets get some more money out there for schools systems to train people (and the Joses) on autism. Because, the issue is only going to get worse as the number of kids in the autism sprectum grows. If people increase their knowledge of autism…they will soon find out what great patience it takes to work with these great kids.

  • Christy

    The story is without merit in that the reporter does not mention any contact or comment from the Blue River Valley administration. There is no authoritative spokesperson only speculation from a father and "witnesses" who are not identified…Poor reporting to only report the parents' side.

  • Disgusted with news

    Check the previous history of the parents and the child. How many schools has the child been kicked out of previously due to his combativeness. Maybe Fox59 should investigate the whole story instead of the one side that they are reporting.

    I do not know this man personally, but sounds to me like he was protecting the rest of the children on the bus because this boy was putting them in harms way. If this child is so severely autistic, why was he aloud on the bus without supervision. It is the responsibility of the bus driver to DRIVE the bus. This child could have caused an accident with the way he was acting.

    Violence should not be tolerated by anyone…..and the boy was being violent with his actions and his threats.

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