CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — As a Tennessee woman watched surveillance video of her young son waking up alone on a school bus crying, she fought back tears of her own.
Uniesha Bradford told WTVC that what happened to her 5-year-old left him traumatized.
“I couldn’t be there,” she said while wiping away tears.
WTVC reported the boy never made it to after school care. Instead, they said he fell asleep on the bus and woke up nearly thirty minutes later alone in a bus lot.
On surveillance video, you can hear the boy crying as he tries to figure out how to get off the bus. It took him more than 10 minutes to open the bus door. That’s when he wandered through a parking lot until he was helped by a stranger.
“What if those people weren’t out there,” Bradford told WTVC. “Anybody couldn’t got him or if he was still wandering the parking lot.”
The Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency told WTVC that the bus driver and aftercare employee failed to conduct mandatory bus checks.
The agency that runs the buses, said the driver is supposed to do a sweep of the bus.
“It would entail that driver getting off the bus, getting back on the bus, walking down the walkway and making sure there’s nothing left,” Nancy Sutherland, SETHRA Executive Director, told WTVC.
She said the aftercare employee is also at fault.
“Chambliss is supposed to get on the bus to make sure there’s no children, there’s no backpacks or things like that left on the bus,” she said.
SETHRA said all drivers go through yearly training. The driver in this case had just taken a training class 48 hours before the incident.
The bus driver has been suspended. The aftercare employee is now on probation.