Former Bus Driver In Underage Sexual Assault Case Denied Bond

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A former school bus driver accused of having sex with a minor and leading police on a manhunt was denied bond Wednesday in Sebastian County Circuit Court, according to prosecutors.

Johnny Carter, 72, appeared in court in a bond revocation hearing Wednesday. His attorney did not protest the revoking of Carter’s bond, and the judge ordered the suspect remain in the Sebastian County Detention Center until his sexual assault trial, said Sebastian County Prosecutor Daniel Shue.

Carter’s trial was set at the hearing for November, Shue said.

Carter was arrested Sept. 3 following a manhunt after police said he violated the terms of his bond by contacting the victim he’s accused of sexually assaulting.

Police said Carter was first arrested in November of 2012 on suspicion of fourth degree sexual assault. Carter was wanted by authorities on a petition to revoke his bond concerning his original charge.

Carter, who was a school bus driver, was arrested late last year in Fort Smith after allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. He was working as a bus driver and pole-vaulting coach for Union Christian Academy at the time, police said. Carter was the girl’s coach.

While awaiting trial, Fort Smith police investigators received information that Carter was still in contact with the girl. The Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office was notified, and a warrant for Carter’s arrest was issued, according to the Fort Smith Police Department.

Investigators were conducting surveillance of a potential pre-planned meeting at the Greenwood Walmart between Carter and the girl Sept. 3, when Carter fled the area to avoid being arrested, Fort Smith police said.

While police searched for Carter that afternoon, Westwood Elementary in Greenwood was locked down, authorities said.

School let out at its usual time of 3:05 p.m. during the lockdown, but students were not allowed to walk home, according to the school district. All students released from school were either taken home by bus or picked up, according to the district’s central office.

Both Greenwood police and Fort Smith police worked together in the search.