UPDATE: School Bus Driver cited for leaving 4-yr-old on bus
By: Sabrina Ahmed
An update on a story we first brought you Friday. A four year old boy left on a school bus for hours.
We spoke to the mom exclusively on Friday and, today, deputies say they've ticketed the bus driver.
“We do know that he feels horrible about what has happened,” Captain Ben Houchin of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office said today.
The sheriff's office cited the bud driver, Donald Kroese, of Adams, with misdemeanor child neglect. If happened after a little boy was found outside Norris Preschool.
“My bus driver didn't take me off the bus,” 4-year-old Xander Hartling was left behind on the bus Friday morning. Deputies say they think he was sleeping. He climbed out of the bus around 11 AM. He had on a coat, but was missing one shoe.
He was standing outside his preschool classroom almost three hours after school started.
An hour after the school found him, they gave his mom the terrifying call.
“I'm freaking out because it didn't really sink in that they did have him. My brains going, Xander's not at school. What do you mean? I put him on the bus. Where's my son at? He's 4,” Katie Hartling said.
The Sheriff's office say they spoke to Kroese, he was a substitute bus driver and this wasn't his normal route.
“He has taken full responsibility and, like I said, he just feels horrible,” The Captain said.
We spoke on the phone with Kroese, he didn't want to be interviewed, but he did say feeling horrible is an understatement and this is one of the worst things that he's ever experienced.
The Norris School Superintendent, John Skretta, said this is the first time a child was left on the bus in their district. But he says one time is too many and the school is performing a full investigation.
“When we make those determinations, we will hold those employees accountable for fulfilling their job expectations. And certainly, if you are a bus driver, a basic expectation would be that yes, the students are safely transported to and from the anointed destinations,” Skretta said Friday.
He also said the bus driver is suspended indefinitely. He's not a contracted bus driver because he's a substitute, but he doesn't see him working for them again in the foreseeable future.