Crime & Courts
Hillsborough bus driver resigns after rape arrest
TAMPA - On the same day a bus driver accused of sexually battering a 12-year-old boy resigned, Hillsborough County school district officials began pulling videotapes from his routes to watch his interaction with students. Dacquiri Jermaine Crawford, 29, resigned the job he has held for the past eight years. He is being held in the Hillsborough County Jail. As Crawford turned in his resignation, school district officials began pulling videotapes of his bus routes at the request of police. “We want to confirm there is no one else he has approached in an inappropriate manner,” said Laura McElroy, spokeswoman for Tampa police.Crawford signed a resignation form when school officials delivered a letter outlining a disciplinary case against him today at the jail. On the form, he checked “personal health/disability” as the reason for the resignation. Crawford was a driver for students at Gorrie Elementary, Madison Middle and Blake High schools. He graduated from Blake in 2001. It was near Blake, police said, that Crawford came across a 12-year-old boy Thursday evening. Crawford is accused of dragging the boy into a clump of trees along the banks of the Hillsborough River and raping him. The boy was not a student assigned to any of Crawford’s bus routes, officials have said. The district is sending letters home to the parents of students who rode on Crawford’s bus, said Stephen Hegarty, spokesman for Hillsborough schools. His record with the school district, where he has worked since 2005, is mostly spotless. “Thank you for a fine job at Webb when needed,” evaluator Sandy Stewart wrote in April 2008. “Good year!” read the 2009 version by Pamela Coleman, field operations supervisor. “Great cover driver!” was the comment two years later from Coleman. Crawford’s only blemish came in December 2007 during a confrontation with another bus driver at Westchase Elementary. He was accused of using threats and profanity toward the other driver. Some of those comments were in a location with students present, school district records show. In last week’s incident, Crawford was charged with sexual battery on a child between age 12 and 18, lewd and lascivious battery on a child younger than 16 and trespass on school property.