4-year-old forgotten on Warren school bus for an hour and a half Tuesday
A four-year-old child was picked up by a contracted bus service to attend preschool inside Warren G. Harding in Warren Tuesday morning, but never made it to the school.
According to Warren City School Superintendent Steve Chiaro, the child was picked up around 8:50 a.m. and was to be dropped off at the preschool which is located inside Harding at approximately 9:15 a.m.
Chiaro told 21 News anchor Derek Steyer that the 4-year-old didn't get off the bus, and was accidentally returned with the bus to the bus garage in Warren, after stopping to refuel.
Chiaro said that the investigation is not yet complete, but was told that the child was found by another driver for Community Bus Service, Inc., the company contracted by Warren schools, and based out of Warren.
The superintendent said he received a call at 10:31 a.m. about the incident, and the parents of the child were quickly notified.
"The driver did not properly check the bus..." Chiaro said. "The number one thing a driver is instructed to do is to check for students. Especially younger students of this age group, they tend to fall asleep on the bus sometimes... it is very common," Chiaro added.
Chiaro told 21 News that the bus service is contracted by the district; however, all bus drivers know that they must check for students on completion of all routes.
The bus also had an aide who assisted the driver with the children and the route.
"It's terrifying for the parents - not alone the child - to be in this situation," Chiaro said. "There is no excuse for this happening on the route to a preschool program..." Chiaro added.
Community Bus Services CEO Terry Thomas spoke with 21 News and said that the veteran bus driver and aide failed to do a 'post-trip inspection,' which Thomas said is required by all schools.
Thomas said upon learning from another Community Bus Service driver of the incident, his company alerted the school. Thomas told 21 News that they are doing a complete investigation, which will be completed within days.
Thomas said that the failure to do the inspection is a serious offensive and firable offense.
Once the investigation is complete, a determination will be made on the two employees in question. Thomas said the employees are expecting to be fired over the incident, but he wouldn't take action until he has all the information he needs to make an informed decision.
21 News asked Chiaro if this offense - abandoning a child on a bus - should be a punishable offense against the bus driver and the bus aide, the superintendent responded "Absolutely.. absolutely."
The temperature at 9 a.m. in Warren was around 37 degrees Tuesday.
The family of the child declined to speak on camera with 21 News.