GOODYEAR, Ariz. — A 16-year-old with autism was taken to the hospital for heat-related issues after being left on a bus Tuesday morning.
Goodyear police said they responded to Precious Home Services, a day care for children with disabilities, near Central Avenue and Van Buren Street shortly before noon.
An initial investigation found the bus picked up several students and took them to school around 9 a.m. The driver then parked the bus and didn’t check each row for passengers before leaving, police said.
Police said the teen, who is non-verbal, was found on the empty bus after around three hours. The temperature in Goodyear Tuesday topped out at around 107 degrees.
The owner of the Precious Home Services, Nosa Ogie, said both the driver and caregiver were trained to check the bus and get a headcount before entering the facility.
"After that, they have to cross-check the van again to see if there's anybody left and that routine was not carried out," he said.
Ogie says his wife even called the day care to ask for a headcount.
"And they said everybody was there," he said. "We asked about this client, they said this client was not in the program today."
But hours later, Ogie says the boy's mom came to the day care asking for him. That's when staff went back to the bus and found the boy still seated.
The driver and caregiver were fired immediately, Ogie says.
"We reported to the state, we sent them the termination letter, we reported ourself to the Department of Economic Security...and the state have already sent somebody here and we comply with the investigation," Ogie said. "We apologize to the mom...that is not what our agency represents"
The boy was treated at a local hospital and released after suffering heat-related issues, according to police.
Police said no arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.