Driver terminated after leaving 5-year-old student locked in school bus

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McKeesport Pa. —

A McKeesport area school bus driver has been terminated after unintentionally leaving a 5-year-old girl locked inside a bus for more than five hours on Thursday, according to officials. 

Lucy Kelly told Channel 11’s Timyka Artist she put her daughter on a bus at 8:50 a.m. headed to Twin Rivers Primary Kindergarten on Thursday morning. She then received a call from Pennsylvania Coach Lines at around 2:30 p.m. informing her that her daughter had been found on the bus and had been there all day due to the driver’s oversight. 

“She said ‘we just found your daughter on the bus’ and I broke down. I said ‘It's 2:30 what do you mean you just found her on the bus?” said Kelly.

The driver failed to do proper procedural checks before exiting and the 5-year-old girl was left alone, asleep on the floor of the bus as it was parked at the garage, according to officials.

The school district said the bus driver has been terminated and additional procedures have been instituted to prevent this situation from happening again. Drivers will be required to perform two full bus checks after each route to and from school, looking under all seats before exiting the bus. The district has also upgraded the automated call system alert, which is a prerecorded messages that will automatically be sent out to parents if a child is absent from school.

Kelly said her daughter is still somewhat reluctant to return to school and hasn't been back since the incident last Thursday.

McKeesport Area School District spokesperson Kristen Giran released the following statement:

“The Employee Handbook for PA Coach Lines reads ‘Every driver is responsible for checking their bus after every school drop-off--for students and damage on the bus.  Any driver who leaves a student on the bus will be immediately terminated.’ 

Anything less than perfection in the transportation of our children is unacceptable. Exiting a bus without accounting for every child after every run is inexcusable. The district stands with the family as it demands immediate accountability for this negligence.”