• Bus driver accused of relationship with student in Winter Garden turns self in


    WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - Investigators said a 35-year-old Orange County bus driver used his job to take advantage of a student.

    Deputies said Javier Mendez had a sexual relationship with a student. They said he turned himself in last week and told authorities he wanted to register as a sex offender.

    Investigators said the illicit relationship allegedly began on the bus in November, first starting with explicit text messages and then leading to the exchange of explicit photos on Facebook.

    Finally, deputies said the two met in person in a church parking lot in Winter Garden.

    The arrest affidavit said Mendez even brought his 7-year-old daughter along during one of five encounters.

    "I never would have guessed him, never," said Mendez's former neighbor, Barbara Peterson.

    Mendez turned himself in to Winter Garden police on Friday and told the officer he needed to register as a sex offender.  He has since been charged with lewd and lascivious molestation.

    "I'm surprised but glad he had a conscious to do what he did. He does need help then," said former neighbor Dave Peterson.

    Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo found it isn't the first time Mendez has been at the center of an investigation. He was questioned after he told police he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed on Interstate 4 while 13 children were on board.

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