School bus drops 6-year-old miles from home

WAKE COUNTY It happened last Tuesday when the boy's mother went to pick her two sons and a friend up from East Garner Elementary School.

Elizabeth Hammonds tells ABC11 Eyewitness News that she always drives her sons to and from school and never lets them ride the bus fearing something might happen.

She says that's why she was worried when her son, 6-year-old Jarius, didn't come out to her car after school.

"We found out that my son was nowhere on the premises and we could not locate him," Hammonds said.

It turns out he had got on a school bus.

The first grader was dropped off nearly four miles from his home along Poole Road and Riverknoll Drive in Raleigh.

Hammonds says she later got a call on her cell phone from a stranger who stopped to help him.

"She told me that my son was running up and down trying to chase cars to have somebody stop and pick him up so that he could get back home," Hammonds said. "I'm very hurt, because it could have been worse. He could've gotten hit by a car, a child molester, a pedophile could've picked him up and I would have never seen him again."

Thankfully, the Good Samaritan brought Jarius back to school.

He admitted to his mother that he had convinced the substitute teacher he was a bus rider.

Still, Hammonds says she feels the school bus driver should have realized he wasn't supposed to be on board and should have listened to him when he said he didn't live in that neighborhood.

"I would like for her to be fired because this was a child, 6-years-old, to allow a child to get off the bus without any supervision," Hammonds said.

Wake County school officials say the bus driver, a 17-year veteran with no prior problems, didn't follow the rules.

"Mistakes were made," WCPSS Spokesperson Greg Thomas said. "The bus driver has been removed from the road while human resources and transportation investigates."

School officials and the Hammonds family says they are grateful the incident had a happy ending and grateful a stranger did the right thing.

"I'm very grateful," Hammonds said. "I feel like she's an angel to our family."

The Good Samaritan tells ABC11 that she has a 6-year-old too, and just wanted to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, school officials tell ABC11 that some changes have been made in the classroom.

They say the 6-year-old boy was able to change his status on the transportation board in his classroom from carpooler to bus rider, while a substitute teacher was on duty. That board has now been moved out of reach of children.

Also, teachers have been asked to include transportation directions for their students in their written substitute teacher manuals.

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