Driver Placed On Leave After Leaving 2-Year-Old Alone On Bus

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A bus driver for the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities is on unpaid administrative leave after a child was left alone on a bus for nearly three hours.

Dakota Ferguson told 10TV she decided to call her son's daycare Wednesday afternoon to check on how we was doing on his first day back from winter break.

Ferguson said she had dropped him off at the Dahlberg Learning Center in the morning.

He was supposed to transported by bus from the school to daycare around noon.

But when she called to check on him around 2:30 p.m. her son was nowhere to be found.

"I'm like O.K., he's not at the day care, he's not at the school," Ferguson said. "So what's going on, it's been 2 1/2 hours?"

Ferguson and the child's father, Dakota Williams, made several frantic phone calls.

Finally, one of them reached the transportation department at the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities and someone checked the bus.

Ferguson said her son had been left alone on a bus parked in the lot, restrained in a child safety seat, on a cold January day, wearing only a coat and gloves.

"I'm glad that he's alright, but I'm still trying to figure out what, exactly, happened?" said Williams. "Like how, did you forget a two year old on a bus?"

Director of Transportation Services Paul Chenderlin told 10TV they can confirm through electronic devices that the driver performed a child check at the end of her route.

But what they can't answer is how she missed a 2-year-old sitting in a seat.

"We're all heartbroken, but we're dealing with people and something happened. Somehow, she was able to walk to the back of the bus, acknowledge that she was doing her child check... and not see the kid," Chenderlin said.

In order to record a safety check, the driver would have had to physically walk to the back of the bus and activate a button.

And departmental records show that did, in fact, take place.

The driver is now facing termination.

"There isn't any group of people, in the entire system of kids, that cares more about what they're doing, than those drivers," said Chenderlin. "They're people... sometimes they make mistakes."