Polk County Sheriff's deputies arrested two juveniles on May 10, 2011, for Aggravated Battery on an Education Employee, after they pushed and repeatedly punched a school bus driver.
On Monday, May 9, 2011, around 1:15 p.m., 62-year-old Charles Faulkner (DOB 12/8/48), of 7028 Hazeltine Circle in Lakeland, a substitute bus driver for that day for the Bill Duncan Opportunity School, picked up students who ride the bus from Bill Duncan to Kathleen High School. Once all 46 students were on the bus, Charles asked them to put their windows up, as the air-conditioning was on. Several of the students complied, however, some of the students at the back of the bus did not. Charles asked ten more times, yet they continued to ignore his requests.
Charles pulled the bus over on US Hwy 98, just south of the Polk Parkway (SR 570), and walked to the back of the bus, asking the students again to close the windows. The students then complied.
As Charles turned around to walk back up to the front of the bus, he was confronted by 15-year-old Ladarius Johnson (DOB 1/29/96), of 2025 New Tampa Hwy #96 in Lakeland. Johnson engaged Charles in a verbal argument, and then pushed him so that he fell face down onto a bus seat. Johnson, along with 15-year-old Jaquin Williams (DOB 11/8/95) of 512 Westgate in Lakeland, then began punching Charles repeatedly about the head, neck, and back, while he was laying on his stomach face down in the seat. The two juveniles stopped punching Charles when they saw blood coming from his head.
Charles then got up and went up to the front of the bus and called for assistance.
Charles was transported to LRMC where he was treated for his wounds. He received three stitches for one of the many lacerations on his head, had swelling on the left side of his head, and pain in his neck. He was released from LRMC and referred to his physician for follow-up.
Johnson and Williams were subseqently arrested and each charged with one count Aggravated Battery on an Education Employee, and booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center.