Newport News bus driver accused of assaulting 12-year-old student

Posted at 10:39 AM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 10:39:26-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A school bus driver is accused of assaulting a 12-year-old student on Wednesday.

According to Newport News Police, at approximately 4:07 p.m., officers were contacted by the Newport News Public Schools Transportation Supervisor in reference to an assault investigation.

Police say the investigation revealed that there was an altercation between the bus driver, James Richard Hopkins, 58, and a 12-year-old boy.

Court documents obtained by NewsChannel 3 state that the fight between Hopkins and the student started when Hopkins demanded the student for his phone.

The documents say Hopkins tried to grab the phone several times and eventually the student twisted away and pushed Hopkins back.

Hopkins then grabbed the student by the throat, pushed him down on the seat, and the two began to fight.

According to the documents, Hopkins placed the boy in a headlock for 35 seconds before pinning and releasing him. However, the student had no visible marks nor did he complain of pain or the inability to breathe.

Hopkins was charged with misdemeanor assault and was released on a criminal summons.

Newport News Public Schools spokeswoman, Michelle Price, says Hopkins is suspended from duty. Additionally, the student is suspended from school for his actions leading up to the altercation.

Price says Hopkins served as a bus driver for two years.