JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- John Baptisme stood before a judge this morning. It's his first court appearance since he was arrested, after four girls were hit with his SUV while walking near Arlington Middle School Monday morning. The catch, Baptisme wasn't behind the wheel. "He let her drive. She lost control of the wheel, he tried to get control of the wheel and hit those girls," says Baptisme's girlfriend Evelyn Jackson.
According to the police report, a 13-year-old was driving Baptisme's SUV, as he sat in the front seat. Action News asked his girlfriend, the mother of the 13-year-old, why he let her drive. "He was trying to bond with her. That's all he was trying to do. He's always trying to get my kids all that they want. He never likes to tell them no," says Jackson.
But his father says because he has a suspended license, he shouldn't have been given the keys to the SUV in the first place. "I don't know how come his girlfriend let him take the car to take the kid to school. She knows he doesn't have a license," says father Niyo Baptisme.
Now the 25-year-old is facing four counts of leaving the scene of an accident that caused injury, and his family is apologizing on his behalf. "I'm very sorry for what happened," says Baptisme. "I'm so sorry for those kids, because I'm a parent and I can just imagine what happened to those kids, but it was a mistake," says Jackson.
Baptisme's bond is set at $115,018. His next court date is June 5.