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Boy was forgotten on school bus

Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-29 19:45:59-04

 6-year-old boy with autism was missing for nearly two hours on Thursday.

When he was't dropped off from school on time, his parents called 911, only to find out their son ended up at the bus garage. Utica Community Schools immediately opened an investigation into the incident.

The bus driver won't get behind the wheel until the investigation is completed, but the parents are struggling to believe a driver could forget their son on the bus.

Sammy Whiteford's bus ride home usually lasts 10 minutes and when he didn't come home, his parents started to panic.

"I'm looking at the the time, and I'm looking and looking and thinking he's been late before, but never this late," said Theresa Whiteford.

After 30 minutes, Theresa and Bryan Whiteford frantically picked up the phone.

"We called the school," Bryan Whiteford said. "There (was) no answer."

That's when they called 911. Police responded to the home, and while they were there, the bus arrived, nearly two hours late.

"He's smacking his head as he rolls up. He's crying," Bryan Whiteford said.

"He kept saying, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I forgot about him,'" Theresa Whiteford said.

"I don't know what to do," Bryan Whiteford said. "I don't know what to say."

Utica Community Schools told WDIV the driver forgot Sammy was on his bus.

"We know he was brought here to the bus garage," said district spokesman Tim McAvoy. "Part of the investigation is to determine how long he was here and why."

The bus driver is currently on leave and admitted to missing Sammy's stop.

"I'm sorry, that's unacceptable," Bryan Whiteford said.

Sammy won't be back on the bus again, but his parents insist a bus aide would prevent this from happening to others.