LITTLE ROCK, AR - A driver for a private daycare transportation company faces charges of endangering the welfare of a minor.
Police arrested Shakambral Hillery, 29, on Wednesday after a 1-year-old boy fell out of the Pettrigrew Transportation Department van she was driving.
The incident happened on Aug. 12 outside of Archild Daycare Center near 10th & Tyler streets. According to police reports, an employee with Archild who witnessed the fall, told police Hillery was unloading a child and had the back side door of the van open. The employee stated Hillery closed the side door and started to drive off when the side door opened and the child fell out.
The report stated that the boy landed on the pavement face first and his booster seat fell out behind him. According to the report, the boy was not buckled into a seat belt.
In the police report, the employee said Hillery wanted to put the child back into the car, but the employee would not let her. According to the employee, Hillery got mad and drove off.
The employee also stated that Hillery claimed the toddler unbuckled his seat belt, but his mom, Ashley Smith said even if that were true, he should have never fallen out of the van.
“When you have kids on this van, you're supposed to make—you’re supposed to have your eyes on these kids,” Ashley said.
According to Lt. Sidney Allen with the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD), when investigators interviewed the employee with Archild for a second time Wednesday morning, she changed part of her story.
“When the investigators talked to the witness, that witness then said that the vehicle was not moving but the child did fall out of the vehicle,” Allen said.
Still, Ashley said the driver was careless and Pettigrew Transportation Department did not properly punish her.
“I’ve just been furious over the whole situation,” she continued. “I just can’t believe that they even tried to, you know, tried to cover it up and sweep it underneath the rug like it never happened.”
According to the Department of Human Services (DHS), Pettigrew Transportation Department’s contract with Southeast Transport has been terminated.
FOX 16’’s Leah Uko contacted the owner, Anthony Pettigrew, to see if Hillery was still employed with the company and allowed to drive. He declined to answer.
According to LRPD, Hillery has no prior criminal history.
DHS said a licensing investigation is underway.
Uko spoke with the director of Archild Daycare Center, Marti Dush. Dush said the daycare center was no longer working with Pettigrew and that because the incident did not take place on its property and the child was injured while in care of a different company, the daycare was not responsible for the incident.
FOX 16 is still working to confirm this.
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