4-year-old left in school van for hours; driver suspended

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The driver responsible is expected to lose her job. (WPVI)

A Bucks County school bus driver is off the job after she mistakenly left a 4-year-old alone in a van for hours.

The driver made the discovery at the Friendship Circle Center in Croydon.

The child is okay, but the driver responsible is expected to lose her job.

Jo Ann Perotti from Bucks County Intermediate Unit tells us, "The employee was devastated. Our staff is devastated, because this is something that never should have happened."

The Bucks County Intermediate Unit is an organization that provides education and other services for kids with special needs in Bucks County.

Perotti says the 4-year-old child was supposed to be dropped off at the Friendship Circle Center in Croydon.

The child was in the back of the van with four other preschoolers. When the children were dropped off, the child, who doesn't speak, was left in the backseat

"Any time a child is picked up and dropped off, that van must be looked at from the front to the very back space," Perotti said.

However, she says that didn't happen.

The driver took the van home and came back around noon. Only then did she realize the child had been left unattended in the van for nearly four hours.

Educators at the school called 911. The child was rushed to a local hospital.

Neighbor Theresa Gaerttner says, "We seen them go into the school, and waited for a while and then they brought somebody out but I didn't know who it was - man, child."

Perotti says, "He was dehydrated, and last evening our executor director did meet and speak with the parents and he was real happy to hear the child playing in the background."

The child is OK.

Bristol Police are investigating, but so far there have been no charges.

Temperatures Tuesday morning were in the low 80's.

Perotti knows this was a close call, and the outcome could have been much different.

"This is so atypical, what happened. This is not the usual for our staff," she said.

The diver has been with Buck County Intermediate since June of last year. She's been suspended with intent to terminate.
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