New Jersey toddler stuck nearly six hours in cold on school bus

Toni Yates reports from Franklin Township.
January 29, 2014 2:52:45 PM PST
Officials in central New Jersey have fired a school bus driver after a toddler was left on his bus in bitter cold weather for nearly six hours.

The 3-year-old, Adam Akturk, got on the bus at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the ride to the Franklin Park School in Somerset County. He sat at on the bus without heat, food or water until he was discovered around 2 p.m.

"It's so heartbreaking to imagine what he must have gone through," said Adam's mother Mishiloh.

Adam was headed for his 4th day of school. His mom kissed him goodbye at the bus stop.

"I put him on the bus, thought he would have a good day at school, have a good day," Mishiloh Akturk said.

He never made it to the school, where he is in special classes for speech.

"I feel so sad, so angry. I don't want this to happen to someone else's kid," said Adam's father Omer.

Two systems of safety failed the child. Number one: the recently hired Mercy School Company bus driver ignored what an alarm warns him to do.

"He has to walk all the way down to the back and to activate the child alarm, to make sure nobody's behind, nobody's sleeping on the bus," said the bus company's manager, Lahoucine Elmajeoub.

Instead of walking the aisle, he got out of the bus, walked around to the back, opened and shut the door. The alarm goes off. Adam was not discovered.

"Imagine the guilt I feel as a mother, going about our day. Your kid suffers, you don't know," said Mishiloh.

Second, the school never alerted his parents that he was not there, after attendance was taken. There are only about five kids in his class.

The superintendent released a statement saying, "In this case, the student's absence was marked verified, so no call was made to the child's parent. We are conducting an internal investigation on that issue."