Verdict announced in case involving driver accused of causing deadly school bus crash

CLARK COUNTY — The verdict in the trial of the driver accused of causing a deadly school bus crash has been announced.

Hermanio Joseph, 36, was found guilty Wednesday afternoon of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

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As News Center 7 previously reported, Joseph was on trial after he crashed a van into a Northwestern Local Schools bus on the first day of school last August. 11-year-old Aiden Clark was on the bus and died in the crash. Dozens of other students were hurt in the crash.

The verdict was read after a Clark County jury took just over an hour to deliberate on Wednesday.

“I respect the jury’s verdict,” Terry Hart, Joseph’s defense attorney, told News Center 7′s John Bedell.

Joseph will be sentenced on May 21.

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As we reported on News Center 7 at 5:00, the case was handed to the jury after Joseph took the stand Wednesday morning with the help of a translator.

Joseph, who said he’s been in Springfield for just over a year, admitted on the stand to something prosecutors have argued; that he had neither an Ohio driver’s license at the time of the crash nor a license from any other US state.

His defense team showed a copy of his driver’s license from Mexico, which one prosecutor said was not valid in Ohio.

While on the stand, Joseph explained what he said caused the crash.

“It’s the sun that hit my eye, you know, that caused the accident,” Joseph’s translator translated to the court.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Trial begins today for man accused of causing deadly Clark County school bus crash

Joseph testified that he tried to avoid the crash, but prosecutors pointed out data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation showed he was speeding and did not brake. After he crossed the center line, the data showed he made no attempts to steer his van back to the right and away from oncoming traffic.

Joseph also testified that it all happened too quickly for him to react.

“The road is very narrow and then, you know, as the sun hit, you know, I did not have the chance to make the right decision,” Joseph said through his translator.

Prosecutors said Joseph did not have a valid license, never made an attempt to get one in Ohio, but chose to drive anyway. They argued that it was negligence that led to Clark’s death.

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