Toddler causes school bus crash

April 24, 2009 8:48:29 PM PDT
A toddler caused a school bus accident in Philadelphia on Friday morning. It happened at the intersection of Chew and Chelten Avenues around 7:40 a.m. Friday in the East Mount Airy section of the city.

Investigators say the boy, 3- year-old Malik McNeal, wandered in front of the bus, and was nearly hit.

Betia Prince was horrified when she saw Malik run out into the street.

"I see him running across Chew Avenue with a pair of pants on, no shirt, no socks, no shoes, no nothing," Prince said.

The bus crashed, and two children had to be taken to Einstein Medical Center.

No one knew where the wandering boy came from, so, Prince took him to her childrens' school and called the police.

"It was very disturbing. When you find something like this, you really don't know what to think, we don't have anything reports of a child missing and we wonder where the parents are and what they're doing," Sgt. David Merrick of the Philadelphia Police said.

The boy eagerly ate his way through a boxful of food. He has a bright smile and seemed happy to be there.

The personable little boy seemed as hungry as he was comfortable with strangers, but scabs on his face and scars on his body raised questions about discomfort in his life..

"On his back, on his tummy, on his back he has scars, and on his leg," Prince said.

Officers from the special victims picked Malik up and canvased the neighborhood until they found his house in the 200 block of Montana street.

He had wandered 12 blocks from home without getting hurt or being stopped by anyone. His mother, 34-year-old Tonya Robinson says she was asleep when he slipped out of the house and didn't realize he was missing.

Robinson tells authorities Malik's scars are from rough play with 8, 13, and 17-year-old siblings.

Neighbors are disturbed by what happened.

"I've never seen anybody do anything to him because he has a big brother and a big sister?that's why this morning, I was really surprised," neighbor Tanika Bufford said.

She is facing charges reckless endangerment and recklessly endangering her 3-year-old son.

Investigators add, her boyfriend is facing unrelated charges, as well. Officers allege she was beaten up by her boyfriend just before authorities arrived at the home.

Malik will be turned over to DHS and given a medical checkup.

DHS says that have been involved with this family in the past.

According to neighbors, Malik has been known to wander off before.

If you ever see an abandoned child or suspect a child has been the victim of abuse there is a hotline you can call:

The Department of Human Services 24 hours a day at 215-683-4DHS

or

The state's hotline at 1-800-932-0313.

LINK: DHS PHILADELPHIA

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