ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester school bus driver that was arrested for assaulting a 9-year-old child has pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday.
Jennifer Denegal, 26 or Rochester, was arrested and charged with third degree assault after she allegedly hurt a student on January 7.
Defense Attorney Mark Foti said his client is innocent and they filed a motion to dismiss charges. The defense claims Denegal was breaking up a fight on the bus and the 9-year-old student accidentally fell during the commotion, and was not assaulted by Denegal.
“Essentially they bumped into each other and she fell over,” Foti said. “That’s not the basis of a criminal charge. What it sounds like is if that even happened, it was accidental at most and that’s not the reason to bring somebody to court.”
According to court papers, Denegal “thrusted her body” into the victim causing her to fall and hit her head on the bus floor.
The student was treated for pain and bruising of the head at the University of Rochester Medical Center and was diagnosed with a concussion.
According to court paperwork, a fellow fourth grade student on the bus said this:
“I ride the bus to school and I got on the bus and sat down. After about two minutes the bus driver said to quiet down. The [injured student], who is a classmate, said something to the driver like ‘mind your own business.’ The bus driver told [injured student] to go up and sit in the front of the bus. [Injured student] started walking up and that’s when the bus driver moved her out of the way and then she fell. She was walking toward the bus driver and she moved her out of the way when her hand and that’s when [injured student] slipped. I saw her fall on her head and then she got back up and covered her face with the hoot and sat in the front. When we got to school she ran out crying and told the principal that the bus driver bushed her and then she sat on the bench. The bus driver was a substitute driver, she was only the driver that morning.”
Denegal is scheduled to be back in court early next month.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.