Felony: Bus Driver Leaves 5-Year-Old with Autism on Bus

Photo by: kevindooley/Flickr

Note: This story is a follow-up to an earlier article.

On July 6th, a city school bus driver named Eddie Louis was walking through the bus depot after a shift in Richmond, Virginia.  He began to hear sounds which he at first perceived to be a car radio that had been left on.  As he began to hear the sounds more clearly, he realized that it was actually a child who had been left behind in one of the buses.

The child, a 5-year-old with autism, was supposed to be dropped off at a local elementary school for a summer education programThe doors and windows were both closed, and temperatures hit 103 degrees that day.

When Louis discovered the boy, he was in hysterics, crying and screaming.  Louis was able to calm him down enough to get him off the bus and bring him to safety.

On September 14th, Judge Richard B. Campbell of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court announced that child neglect, felony charges will be pressed against the adults who were supposed to ensure the safety of all the children on the bus.  They are Alvin D. Matthews, a substitute bus driver, and Irene Jenkins who was supposed to be supervising the children on the bus.

Their lawyers defended that Jenkins and Matthews did not intend to neglect the child, and a transportation official said that the boy’s name was not included on the list of children to pick up on their route.

However, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary E. Langer felt otherwise.  She stated that it was indeed their duty to make sure all the children were cleared off the bus, and they put the 5-year-old in a situation where he could have died.

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