BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a parent's worst nightmare. A child boards the bus after school, but the bus never shows up at home. It happened Tuesday to the parents of a child in Pre-K, and they understandably have lots of questions.
Christine Vincent helps her daughter get on the school bus every morning. The five-year-old loves her bus driver, Ms. Perry. But Thursday afternoon Ms. Perry was out.
"I got a phone call at work from my husband asking why the bus was late," Vincent said.
It was late because Ms. Perry's bus broke down, so a substitute driver and bus left Magnolia Woods Elementary with the child on board. It's only a two-mile trip home. But Christine's phone eventually rang again, and this was a call she won't soon forget.
"I got a call from a sheriff saying they had our daughter," she said.
Instead of dropping her off at her home on Highland Rd. across from Sammy's Restaurant, the 5-year-old ended up on Gardere Lane at Bayou Fountain. That's where she was told to get off, nearly one mile away from her house.
The Vincents eventually called police, and deputies found the child with another parent near the other bus stop.
"If it were anyone else that found that child, God forbid. That mother was an angel for taking care of her," Vincent said.
While the parents were picking up their daughter from Gardere Lane, the substitute driver did return to the scene and apologize to them. However, not much more was said, and Vincent says her daughter didn't know to speak up when her stop was passed.
"There needs to be something set in place to protect that from happening to these 4- and 5-year-old little kids. A checklist or GPS would be awesome," Vincent said. "They're not expensive to install, they can be preprogrammed with routes, so even a new bus driver can step in and say 'I need Route A for this school' and it's taken care of.'"
She says she still has not heard an explanation from transportation officials. We reached out, and got this statement from EBRPSS's Executive Director of Communications Keith Bromery:
"Officials are investigating yesterday's incident involving a student who was apparently dropped off the school bus by a substitute driver at the wrong stop. As part of the investigation, the school district is also looking at any lessons learned from this situation that could be used to prevent similar incidents in the future."
In the meantime Christine says she will make sure Ms. Perry is behind the wheel.