A Connecticut father said he felt shocked and outraged after his 5-year-old was left on a school for hours earlier this week.
The father, who wished not to be identified, said his son was supposed to be dropped off at Smith Elementary School in New Britain on Wednesday. But, when his father got a phone call that he didn’t show up, he said he knew something was wrong.
“My heart just dropped. You have someone telling you, your kid is missing. You’re just like what,” said the child's father.
The father said he does want to warn other parents to be cautious the next time they put their children on a school bus.
“I hope this makes sure this doesn’t happen to another child,” the father said.
His son was picked up by a DATTCO bus and supposed to be at Smith Elementary School in five minutes. But, his father said he never made it.
“His mother received the recording from the school saying your son wasn’t in school,” the father said. “She was like ‘what do you mean my son isn’t in school?’”
School officials contacted the New Britain Police Department, who launched an investigation. Meanwhile, DATTCO officials began searching for the 5-year-old in the bus parking lot and on the bus he took to school. The boy was found sleeping in the last seat on a school bus.
“It appears that for three hours and 40 minutes the child was on the bus, unsupervised in the bus lot,” New Britain Police Capt. Thomas Steck said.
The child was lethargic, according to his dad, and was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for evaluation. As of Friday night, the child was OK.
Police charged the bus driver 28-year-old Shamowl Evans with one count of risk of injury on Friday. Police said the driver was charged because he simply didn’t follow the rules.
“Had their policies and procedures been followed that child would have been found substantially earlier,” Steck said.
While the 5-year-old’s parents said they are grateful for the efforts of police and DATTCO officials, they wish they would have received the absent call sooner.
“If it would have come in earlier, my son wouldn’t have been on the bus that long,” the father said.
On Friday night, Eyewitness News did reach out to DATTCO for comment but they have not returned the station’s calls.
The child’s father told Eyewitness News his son has been place on another bus and the district is working on making additional changes.
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