Lawyer for minivan driver in fatal school bus crash wants case moved from Clark County

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The lawyer for the minivan driver involved in a crash with a school bus last month in which one child died and dozens more were injured has requested the case be heard outside of Clark County due to its publicity.

According to a motion filed Thursday, attorney Terry Hart requested the change to give Hermanio Joseph, 35, a fair trial in front of an impartial jury. Hart wrote in the motion the “media saturation” and other publicity has made it “impossible to seat an impartial jury” in Clark County.

“The self-evident conclusion is that this County has been so saturated with media coverage tainted with alleged ‘facts’ and opinions, that it is impossible for (Joseph) to receive a fair trial before a jury composed of impartial persons who should learn of the case only through the evidence properly admitted during trial,” Hart wrote. “The only recourse is a change of venue.”

Joseph is charged with fourth-degree felony vehicular homicide and first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter.

Investigators said Joseph was driving a 2010 Honda Odyssey about 8:15 a.m. Aug. 22 in the 4100 block of Troy Road (Ohio 41) at Lawrenceville when his minivan went left of the center line into the path of an oncoming school bus with 52 students and the driver aboard.

The bus driver attempted to avoid the Honda by driving onto the shoulder, but the bus still collided with the minivan. The bus and van went off the side of the road, with the bus rolling over.

Aiden Clark, 11, was ejected and died on the scene, and another student suffered life-threatening injuries. About two dozen more children were injured and taken to area medical centers for treatment.

Joseph presented to law enforcement a driver’s license from Mexico, which was invalid due to his immigration status, which assistant county prosecutor Greg Morris said previously is under investigation. He also had an Ohio identification card.

Joseph and his passenger in the minivan were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Morris said previously that Joseph is registered as a Haitian immigrant in the state of Florida.

All children who were hospitalized following the incident have been released.

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