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Jupiter Middle School teacher accused of punching teen in the nose

WPEC West Palm Beach logo WPEC West Palm Beach 12/21/2020 Sabrina Lolo
a man standing in front of a car © Provided by WPEC West Palm Beach

A 41-year-old teacher at Jupiter Middle School was arrested recently for reportedly punching a 17-year-old in the nose, Palm Beach Gardens police said. 

Joey Santiago, of Palm Beach Gardens, is facing charges of simple battery, child abuse and burglary with battery. 

Police say they responded to the Chipotle in Midtown on Dec. 19 for a report of battery. When they arrived, they found the teen with a bloody nose and Santiago gone. 

The teen said he was driving a Mercedes Benz C230 in the parking lot in front of Bonefish Grill when Santiago suddenly pulled out from a parking spot, then "rapidly accelerated" to turn in front of the teen, almost hitting him, according to police. Santiago then stopped when he realized he'd almost been hit and the teen yelled, "Why did you do that?!" 

Santiago then starting yelling and screaming back at the teen, and continued to drive away, police said. When the teen parked in front of Chipotle, Santiago pulled up behind him in his black Jeep Grand Cherokee, blocking him in. 

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He then got out of the Jeep and banged on the teen's window, yelling at him to get out of the car and demanding a fight, according to police. The teen responded that he's a minor and he wasn't getting out of the car. Santiago then started to walk away and when the teen thought he was leaving, he rolled down his window a little more. Suddenly, Santiago turned around, reached into the car and punched the teen while he was still in the driver's seat. 

Santiago then ran back to his Jeep and fled, but one of the teen's friends got his tag information and reported it to police. They were able to find Santiago's home through a search. 

Police say the teen was taken to the JFK Midtown Emergency Room, where he had X-rays done and it was determined his nose wasn't broken. 

Santiago was arrested Dec. 20 and is still in custody at the Palm Beach County Jail. According to Jupiter Middle School's online directory, Santiago teaches math. 

CBS12 News reached out to the Palm Beach County School District and is waiting to hear back. 

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