LANTANA, Florida – A Metro Mobility driver for autistic students was fired after cellphone video surfaced showing him cursing and tying up a 20-year-autistic man with a seat belt. The driver told his side of the story to WPBF 25 News. According to Ilem Mintor, he was driving three passengers from the Renaissance Learning Center home on Monday when the student repeatedly opened the rear door of the minivan while it was in motion.
Mintor went on to say that drivers on the road were shouting for him to call police. He then pulled over and called dispatch, and was told to stay put until the passenger’s father arrived. Mintor claims the autistic passenger continued to open the door so he threatened him by tying his wrists together with a seat belt.
“I say, ‘Don’t do that, man,'” Mintor told WPBF 25 News. “And I grabbed a seat belt. I say, ‘If you keep doing that, I’m gonna wrap your hand and take you back home like this.’ I’m just giving him the pressure now.”
The video tells a different story and clearly shows Mintor tying the passenger’s wrists together and going back to the driver’s seat for several moments, before returning and untying the belt.
Mintor said he was afraid the passenger would jump into traffic and be hit by another car.
Metro Mobility contracts with Palm Tran for the passenger service. Palm Tran fired Mintor after reviewing the video which was shot by another student on the bus. An attorney for Metro Mobility said, “Metro Mobility is shocked by the actions that this driver took. In no way, shape or form does Metro Mobility endorse what the driver did. It’s actually the opposite.”
It’s good to know the company does not endorse tying up autistic passengers.