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Another child left behind on Pittsburgh school bus

January 5, 2010

Another child who fell asleep on a school bus was left behind by a driver for the Pittsburgh Public Schools — the third such incident since October.

A first-grader fell asleep yesterday morning on his way to Linden Elementary, district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said. The bus driver, employed by the W.L. Roenigk company in Butler County, didn't notice that the boy still was on the bus and parked it at the Roenigk garage in Etna, Pugh said.

The student awoke shortly thereafter and tried to get off the bus, Pugh said. Another driver noticed the boy, and the initial driver took him back to school, Pugh said.

The driver failed to check the bus after finishing a route as is required and has been suspended pending an investigation, Pugh said.

Pugh said she didn't know whether school police planned to file charges against the driver.

The driver, Pat Kinnear, declined to comment when reached this morning at her Blawnox home.

"I have no comment at this time," she said. "It's an ongoing thing at work."

This is the second incident involving a Roenigk driver failing to check a bus.

In October, a 5-year-old Fulton Elementary student fell asleep on a bus on his way to school. The Roenigk driver, Carlos Torres, failed to check the seats before parking the bus in front of his North Side home and driving away in his personal vehicle, city schools police Chief Robert Fadzen has said. The student awoke and was able to pry open the bus doors and knock on the doors of nearby homes for help. School police charged Torres with child endangerment, and he was fired from his job at Roenigk.

In December, a driver for A-1 Transit was fired after a Greenfield K-8 second-grader fell asleep on a school van and was found in a Lawrenceville garage. That driver did not perform the required check of every seat before leaving the van, according to an A-1 Transit manager. The child was found by a A-Transit worker performing a second check of the vehicle. School officials planned to charge the driver with endangering the welfare of a child.

Bill Roenigk, vice president of W.L. Roenigk, said yesterday's situation was different than the one in October and will be investigated.

"Every situation that happens regarding a child not getting off at his school is totally different and requires a complete investigation before you can act properly," he said.

School board President Theresa Colaizzi said the board will ask Superintendent Mark Roosevelt tonight during its meeting to investigate the incident.

"It is a serious concern," she said. "Was it one of those things where it's a fluke for a company here or a company there, or is it something where they put these procedures in place, and no one's doing them? I have a problem with them if that's the case."

Source: The Total Media

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