A Whittier, California, bus driver left a non-verbal autistic teen on a hot bus to die because he was arranging a sex romp with a colleague, a wrongful death lawsuit filed by victim’s family on Tuesday alleged.
In January, Armando Abel Ramirez was sentenced to two years in prison in connection with the death of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, 19. KTLA reported that the then-37-year-old pleaded guilty to dependent adult abuse after he left Lee on the bus for several hours on September 11, 2015.
The Sierra Adult School student was found dead on the floor of the bus. Prosecutors said all the bus’ windows were closed and temperatures reached 96 degrees that day.
— infowe (@infowe) January 31, 2017
Lee’s mother, Eun Ha, said her son had the mental capacity of a 3-year-old and wouldn’t be able to yell or ask for help. Eun Ha also told KTLA that was confused as to how her son was left behind—since there were only three other students on the bus that morning.
A police report obtained by the Whittier Daily News revealed that Ramirez and a fellow bus driver sent about a dozen text messages on the day in question. The two drivers allegedly admitted to meeting up at Ramirez’ home and having sex.
The female bus driver said she felt guilty because “this kid was dying, and we were laughing.”
The family is suing the Pupil Transportation Cooperative, the company that employed the two drivers, and the Whittier Union High School District for the 19-year-old’s death.
“With these text messages, we can cross-reference the time on the text messages with the time the bus pulled up in front of the school and we can see that he was texting at the exact moment that he was supposed to be off-boarding Paul,” Robert Glassman of Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP told KTLA.
In light of the teen’s tragic, preventable, death, Gov. Jerry Brown signed “The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law” on April 13. The bill, which will go into effect starting in the 18-19 school year, requires that California school buses have a child-safety alarm system in the back of the vehicle so that drivers check each seat. The law also mandates that bus drivers receive training in child-safety check procedures annually.
Glassman told the paper that damages will be determined during the trial set to begin next month.
The attorney said, “The jury, the community will ultimately decide the value of the loss of the relationship between Paul and his parents.”
[Featured Image: KNBC]