Kid, 6, Left in Hot Van for More Than an Hour, Cops Say; Intellectually Disabled Kid is Fine, Workers for Service are Being Investigated

Categories: Whoops

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A driver and an aide for a school for a Phoenix school for intellectually disabled kids left a 6-year-old in a hot van yesterday for more than an hour, police say.

"We think it's extremely lucky for this kid," says Phoenix police Sergeant Steve Martos. "It was over 100 degrees yesterday and he was in there for an hour and 15 minutes."

The driver and aide, who are affiliated with the service provider for disabled people, Quest Alliance, could face a neglect charge, Martos says.

A school van picked up the 6-year-old, a boy with Down Syndrome, from Peoria and made a few other stops before returning to the school at 7602 West Indian School Road just after 2 p.m.



The driver and aide left the van with four other students, aged 4 to 21, and locked up the vehicle, which had all of its windows up, Martos says.

At about 3:30 p.m., the 6-year-old's mom arrived to pick up her kid.

"They said, 'What are you talking about -- your son's not here,'" according to Martos. "They discovered him still sitting in the van."

The kid still had his seat belt on, he says. Though dehydrated, the boy's expected to make a full recovery.

Police don't believe the driver and aide had any "ill intent." Martos adds that he's not sure how police will submit the case, but it probably won't lean strongly toward charging anyone. However, police do want the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to review the case.

A man who answered the phone at Quest Alliance tells New Times he has no comment at this time. He refused to give his name. The company's CEO, meanwhile, told Channel 3 (KTVK-TV) News that she's "investigating the situation."

Martos compares the hot-car phenomena to the pool-drownings trend: "You just lose track of them."

In cases like this, it's all about the head count.
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2 comments
Henrietta
Henrietta

This is not a filled to capacity 72 passenger school bus but let me see if I understand this correctly; two paid attendants, a driver and an aide in charge of and responsible for just five special needs passengers.

Each attendant has two hands. Most people have four fingers and a thumb on each hand which makes counting to five really easy.

This helpless child could have died.

The company needs to have their contract for special needs transportation suspended until such time as they have an operations procedure manual that prevents such a 'mistake' being made again and all driving and transport staff are thoroughly trained.

Eleanor
Eleanor

It's all about the head count for sure.  If you take responsibilty accept responsibility.  Where is the integrity in the matter of this school of this and their past issues regarding "losing" a child?

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