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Pittsburgh Public Schools driver fired after leaving 8-year-old on van

| Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009

A driver for the Pittsburgh Public Schools has been fired after she left behind an 8-year-old girl who fell asleep and missed her bus stop, authorities said.

The unidentified Greenfield K-8 second-grader was found asleep in a rear seat by an A-1 Transit worker when the school van returned to the Lawrenceville garage Tuesday afternoon after finishing a route for an after-school program, school district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.

The driver left without checking each seat for children, violating company policy, which requires two checks of each vehicle, said an A-1 Transit manager, who declined to give her name.

The school district notified A-1 Transit about the missing girl about the same time the worker found her, Pugh said.

Pugh said the driver is being held responsible.

"This was a driver error," Pugh said.

A-1 Transit refused to identify the driver but confirmed that she was fired.

Pugh said school police planned to charge the driver with endangering the welfare of a child.

It's the second time in three months a city schools student was left on a school vehicle after falling asleep.

In October, a 5-year-old Fulton Elementary student fell asleep on a school bus on his way to school. The bus driver, Carlos Torres, failed to check the seats before parking the bus in front of his North Side home and walking away. The student, Timothy Bottoms Jr., awoke and was able to pry open the bus doors and knock on the doors of nearby homes for help.

Torres was charged with child endangerment by school police and was suspended from his job with W.L. Roenick Excavating & Transportation in Cheswick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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