Ex-Forbes publisher gets probation in bus road rage case

This undated booking photo released by the Fairfield Police Department shows James Berrien of Westport, Conn., accused of scaring elementary school children on a Connecticut school bus in an alleged road rage incident on Dec. 21, 2016. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, a judge in Bridgeport approved accelerated rehabilitation for Berrien, a former Forbes magazine publisher. Breach of peace and disorderly conduct charges will be erased in six months if he stays out of trouble. (Fairfield Police Department via AP)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A former Forbes magazine publisher accused of scaring elementary school children on a school bus in a case of alleged road rage was allowed Wednesday into a probation program that could result in misdemeanor charges being erased.

A state judge in Bridgeport approved accelerated rehabilitation for James Berrien. Breach of peace and disorderly conduct charges will be erased in six months if the 64-year-old Westport resident stays out of trouble.

The bus driver, Danny Castro, told police that Berrien chased after the bus in Fairfield on Dec. 21, forced his way on and screamed at him. He said that happened after the bus and Berrien's car stopped at an intersection at the same time and the bus drove through first.

Castro alleged Berrien pushed aside children getting off the bus as he got on and frightened the rest of the children on the bus.

Berrien told police that he stopped the bus to protect the children because it was speeding. But police said Berrien's statements conflicted with video from surveillance cameras on the bus.

Berrien's lawyer, Robert Golger, said Berrien disputed some of the allegations in the police report but acknowledged he should not have gotten out of his car.

"His concerns would have been better served by simply reporting the incident to the police," Golger said in a letter to Judge William Holden. "He deeply regrets any trouble this incident may have caused anyone."

Berrien was president and publisher of Forbes Magazine Group from 1998 to 2008. He currently runs an executive search consulting firm in Westport.

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