JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A driver and bus aide have been fired after a 4-year-old boy was left in a hot bus for several hours Wednesday in the midst of a sweltering heat wave, according to a spokeswoman for Atlantic Express Bus Company.
Jersey City’s police chief said the special needs boy survived being left unattended in a parked school bus for more than five hours, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
The boy was found at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday by a bus mechanic at a bus lot on Newark Avenue and Routes 1 and 9. The parked bus had apparently not been checked by the driver and an aide who was on board.
The boy was picked up at 7:30 a.m., supposedly headed to a summer program at Jersey City’s P.S. 3 on Bright Avenue for a 7:50 a.m. arrival. Instead, the special needs boy was left on the bus until after 1 p.m., spending five hours alone in the sweltering heat.
Because of the boy’s disability, police said they haven’t been able to determine if he fell asleep, or if the driver and aide simply failed to check the bus.
The boy was taken to Christ Hospital and suffered no injuries, but Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey said it’s no small miracle that the child is alive.
“Everybody’s running around today doing stories about the heat,” he said. “This could have been a tragedy, but that tragedy has been averted, and this child is alive, home and running around like a normal 4-year-old.”
Police said the bus driver and aide were being questioned, and could face criminal charges of endangerment and neglect. Sources told CBS 2 that they each had at least five years on the job.
The mechanic who discovered the boy was being called a hero Wednesday afternoon after finding the boy and getting him immediate medical attention.