MILWAUKEE (WITI/CNN) - Prosecutors say a former Milwaukee school bus driver failed to notice a 4-year-old student fell asleep on the bus and left the child behind when she parked the vehicle.
Lamonica Langston, 44, faces one count of neglecting a child. According to a criminal complaint, the former bus driver was supposed to pick up a 4-year-old girl on Jan. 6 and drop her off at Milwaukee’s Spanish Immersion School.
However, the girl, now 5, fell asleep and never made it to school.
Prosecutors say Langston parked the bus, with the child still on board, near her home. She is accused of breaking company policy by not completing a walkthrough to make sure all the children were off the bus.
"It's scary. It's really scary," neighbor Maria Ramirez said. "I expect for them to double check, make sure that no one is behind. Always double check."
Prosecutors say the little girl “woke up cold” and “began to cry.” It was 36 degrees outside.
A concerned citizen noticed the 4-year-old when she began banging on the bus windows. He couldn’t open the door, so he called 911. Firefighters responded and pried open the doors.
The complaint said the child was “crying and praying,” but she was not injured.
"Oh, my God, it's just upsetting, knowing that there's a child left behind. Thank God, she was safe. Thank God, she's home, and she's OK," Ramirez said.
Prosecutors say Langston admitted she was responsible for the children on the bus and failed to see whether there were any remaining before she got off. She no longer works for the bus company.
If convicted, Langston faces up to nine months behind bars. She is expected to return to court on Feb. 12.