Owasso Student Passes Out From Heat On School Bus; Driver Doesn't Notice

Monday, August 23rd 2010, 9:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

OWASSO, OKLAHOMA -- A Green Country grandmother wants answers after a school bus scare.

She says her six-year-old granddaughter passed out from the heat on her way home and the school bus driver didn't notice.

Marybeth Tomco says her Owasso Public Schools first grader was 15 to 20 minutes late getting home. And when she finally tracked down her granddaughter's school bus, what she saw brought tears to her eyes.

"This little girl lost her dad almost a year ago and her grandfather six months ago. I couldn't have something happened to her too," Tomco said.

But when Tomco saw her granddaughter she feared the worst. It was Friday afternoon and temperatures had climbed into the triple digits.

Tomco was waiting for her granddaughter's bus, but it never came.

"A parent drove up with her two kids that rode that bus," Tomco said. "She says well, she didn't get off the bus."

Tomco says she tracked down the school bus not far away. She says the bus driver had called for the first grader and planned to come back to her stop.

"She told me that she yelled her name. And she doesn't know the kids. And Jade never answered her," she said.

Tomco said when she boarded the bus the six-year-old was in the first row, slumped over in her seat.

"I was trying to wake her up and I couldn't. She was burning up." she said. "So I just kept thinking that we couldn't, my daughter couldn't go through this. I just feel that they should have done something."

Little Jade is all right now. Her family rushed her to the doctor and was told the little girl probably had heat exhaustion.

"They never checked on this child," Tomco said. "You could touch her or you could look at her and see that she was flushed in the face and not responding."

Now this little girl who couldn't wait to ride the bus to school won't get on one.

"Who knows what would have happened in that hour had I not found her when I did," Tomco said.

News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims talked to Owasso Schools Transportation Director on the phone Monday afternoon but he was not available for an interview. He said the driver thought Jade was asleep, which happens often on elementary school buses. And the driver had no idea the six year old was sick.

He also said parents are encouraged to send bottled water with their children for the bus ride home. And he said drivers check at the end of their routes to make sure no children are left on the bus.