Attacked Salem bus driver now faces charges after incident with underage girl

Girl's mother told police he approached her outside of where she works

By Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer

SALEM, Va. - A Salem bus driver who was taken to the hospital Tuesday after police say he was assaulted is now facing charges, according to the Salem Police Department. And a man who contacted 10 News claiming to be the one who attacked the driver, admitted to it and said he was taking justice into his own hands.

The bus driver, 70-year-old Johnny Couch, was arrested and released on bond Wednesday after police say they received a call from a woman saying Couch assaulted her daughter while at work. 10 News visited what is believed to be Couch's home asking for his side of the story but was met with a door slam by a man behind the door.

Shortly after the school bus attack happened, a man claiming to be the one who boarded Couch's bus contacted the 10 News studios and said he attacked Couch because he claims Couch innapropriately touched his daughter.

Police were unable to comment on that accusation, but they did say the woman who came forward Monday told police it involved her daughter, and the daughter told officers that Couch came to her workplace in the 1500 block of West Main Street, in the vicinity of Spartan Square and approached her outside her workplace while she was on break. The girl claims that Couch motioned for her to come toward him. 

After the incident happened in the parking lot, police say the girl went inside and told her mother. Authorities say the girl was not hurt and she did not require any medical attention. The girl's mother told officers that her daughter was under the age of 17 and knew Couch. 

The man who contacted the 10 News Studios hung up on a reporter when they tried to reach him Wednesday afternoon following the release of the school bus driver's charges. He has not answered further attempts at contact. Salem officials said Couch began his position in November 2016 and as of the day of his arrest he is no longer employeed as a school bus driver.

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