Judge denies early end to bus driver's probation

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Sep. 23—BEVERLY — A judge has turned down a request from the former Beverly school bus driver who left a 5-year-old child on that bus three years ago.

David Boutros, 74, of Haverhill, was in court earlier this month asking for his two-year probation sentence to be terminated four months early so he could more easily find work.

Prosecutors and the family of the child — who was struck by a car as he attempted to walk home through one of Beverly's busiest intersections — were opposed to the request.

The incident occurred on Sept. 7, 2018. The child, who was supposed to get off the bus at Cove Elementary School, apparently forgot. When Boutros ended the run that morning and returned to the depot on Sohier Road, a camera on the bus confirmed that he failed to check for any children before he left.

The boy eventually got off the bus alone and managed to make it to the intersection of Rantoul and Elliott streets. He suffered minor injuries when he was struck by a driver who could not see him because he was so small.

In a two-page decision issued Wednesday, Salem District Court Judge Randy Chapman rejected Boutros' request.

Chapman noted that Boutros is already facing only minimal supervision due to his lack of prior convictions, and said Boutros had also been excused from performing community service as a result of concerns about his risk from COVID.

"The defendant has not provided any specific information regarding lost employment opportunities during the past two years," Chapman wrote. "However, he does allege he cannot work any community service due to his age and vulnerability to COVID."

Nor is Boutros, who never served any time in custody in the case, eligible to receive credit for good behavior during his probation. Chapman does have discretion to end probation early but the judge concluded that he'd already taken into consideration all of the relevant factors of sentencing and saw no reason to alter it now.

The judge did waive a monthly probation fee based on Boutros' stated inability to pay.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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