Tonia Stringer said her grandson was left on a school van when the driver parked the vehicle at an Etna garage and never returned.
“I love him very much. He’s my oldest grandchild,” Stringer said. “He’s impaired. He goes to a special school for the deaf and it just broke my heart to hear that a bus driver wouldn’t check his roster to make sure everyone was off the bus.”
Stringer said for the past two weeks, a driver would pick him up from school and drop him off at his East Liberty home by 4:20 p.m. When Antoine had not arrived by 4:45, his mother said she began to panic.
“I called the school first and they put him on the school bus at 3:05 and had not seen him since,” his mother said.
Antoine’s mother said the driver picked her son up from school and drove directly to the garage in Etna. When the driver parked, Antoine said he waited to see if the driver would return. When he didn’t, the 13-year-old started walking across the RD Fleming Bridge, past the Pittsburgh Zoo and into East Liberty.
“He could have gotten hit by a car. I didn’t know where my child was at,” his mother, who did not want to be identified, said.
The woman said she called police and when an officer arrived at her home, Antoine came walking down their street, two hours after he was supposed to arrive.
Antoine’s mother and grandmother are upset and hope the driver has learned a lesson.
“Although they’re not their children, they’re their children while they’re on that bus,” Stringer said.
An AKS Transportation official told Channel 11 News Thursday that they have launched an investigation into the incident and they have been in contact with the school.