Carlisle County bus driver receives jail time for deadly bus crash
CARLISLE COUNTY, Ky. — The hurt had been constant for 13 months. The waiting had gone on for four days and finally, after just two and a half hours of deliberations, the Simpson family would finally learn the fate of Anita Roach.
Roach had been behind the wheel of a bus that crashed and killed their youngest son on May 16, 2011.
The jury acquitted Roach on a tougher charge of manslaughter, which could have meant five to ten years behind bars. She was also acquitted on all charges that stemmed from injuries received by others on the bus.
The jury did find Anita Roach guilty on the lesser charge of reckless homicide. But the words offered little consolation to Melissa Simpson, who sat in the courtroom clutching what was left of her 6-year-old son, a stuffed dog.
When it was time for sentencing, time for her to address the jury, she made it clear she had little else.
"He had a little hoodie he wore to school every day and he always wore it zipped up to his chin. When they found it on the bus, they gave it to me. I sleep with that hoodie every night because I can't sleep with him anymore," she said, breaking into sobs.
Logan Simpson was a first grader at Carlisle County Elementary. He was on the way back from a field trip last May when the bus overturned and he was killed.
At the time, Anita Roach said she has swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Investigators later found she had prescription drugs in her system.
During a heart-wrenching six minutes, Melissa Simpson told the jury it had been difficult to move on in the days and weeks since.
"There are some nights I panic and I want to go dig him up and I want to hold him again."
Ron Roach, the defendant's husband, also had a chance to testify before sentencing. He told the jury he worried about his wife receiving jail time.
"We're scared to death we're going to lose her."
Adoptive parents to seven, Ron Roach said the May crash was purely an accident, telling the jury no one loved children the way she did.
"She would never hurt any child intentionally."
But whatever the case, the jury believed Anita Roach should pay. The jury recommended a one-year sentence at a state penitentiary.
The Simpson family said they were "satisfied" and relieved the ordeal, which Melissa Simpson described as "torture" was over.
Melissa and Kenny Simpson wanted to pass along their gratitude to the jury for their service and also to prosecutor Mike Stacy and Trooper Thomas Clifton for their dedication to the case.
The Simpsons also praised their community and church family for the love and support they had received during the past year.
Anita Roach has been taken into custody and she will stay there until she is formally sentenced July 19.
If paroled, she could spend as little as two months behind bars.