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Toddler Left on Child Care Bus for 3 Hours

A two year old girl was left on a bus for over 3 hours with temperatures rising. The mother of the toddler says a mistake by the bus driver nearly cost her little girl's life.
CLINTON, AR - "Is she alive. Is she awake?" Kathy West remembered asking.

That was West's immediate concern when she learned a bus driver left her daughter Truly, 2, on a bus last Monday (7/8) morning.

A phone call from the Van Buren County Special School told West her little girl had sat alone on the bus in the school parking lot for three hours and fifteen minutes.

West picked her up immediately taking her to the hospital.

"Lab tests. Had blood drawn. Urine test," West listed. "She was dehydrated."

Fortunately it wasn't worse.

"Children being left in a hot car can be fatal," explained Amy Webb.

As Director of Communications with the Department of Human Services, Webb confirmed two ongoing investigations (Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Child Care & Early Childhood Education) into the incident and the school.

Webb says the school reported the incident the same day it happened.

She says safe-guard policies were in place to make sure something like this doesn't happen but they weren't followed.

"There is a simple process. It's very quick," she explained. "They just walk through to the back of the van, hit the button so we know that the kids aren't through there."

That day the school says the driver disengaged the safety feature and none of that happened.

West added, "If he did what he was supposed to -- got up, walked that bus -- he would have seen her."

They say Truly was in the seat right behind the driver the whole time.

As a result the 24-year employee of the school, they say is responsible, no longer works there.

The school is conducting training and updating the system so it can't be disengaged with a key.

As part of a corrective action plan required by the investigating agencies, the school is conducting training and updating the safety feature in all buses so it can't be disengaged with a key.

Truly has not been back to Van Buren County Special School since. However, West plans on eventually taking her back as outside of this incident she says she's overall happy with the school.
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