A New York mother is suing a bus company for $7 million, claiming her 5-year-old daughter was traumatized after a bus dropped the girl off at the wrong stop.
The New York Post reports that Brooklyn resident Adrena Hartzog, 28, has filed a lawsuit over the September 2015 incident that she says left her daughter scared and sobbing.
Hartzog says no one from the girl’s school or the bus company would help her find the child when she didn’t arrive home as scheduled.
“Everyone was going home, about their day, while my 5-year-old was missing,” said Hartzog, who added that the experience “was beyond terrifying.”
Her daughter was supposed to be dropped off at Flatlands Avenue and 102nd Street.
When the girl never showed, Hartzog says she called Leadership Preparatory Ocean Hill Charter School but was put on hold.
She then dialed Boro Transit, the company contracted to bus students for the charter school.
“Nobody had an answer, so I begin to dial 911 and I ran,” she said.
Hartzog searched the area and eventually found her daughter 10 blocks away; the girl was “screaming hysterically” and had wet herself, according to the newspaper.
The owner of a nearby store was kind enough to offer the girl some food and called authorities, but Hartzog was able to find her daughter before police arrived.
The lawsuit, filed with the Brooklyn Supreme Court, alleges the bus company rebuffed Hartzog’s complaint and refused to identify the bus driver.
“No one would cooperate with this woman,” said Hartzog’s lawyer, Stuart Shaw.
Boro Transit says the driver that day was providing “a favor for another parent” by bringing a child to a grandparent’s house, although that does not explain why Hartzog’s daughter was brought to the wrong bus stop.
Bus company lawyer Peter Silverman said the lawsuit’s allegations “do not seem to ring true.”
According to the New York Post, bus drivers who drop off children at an “authorized stop” can be suspended for six months on the first violation.
The newspaper reports that school bus drivers who face accusations of wrongdoing often are allowed to keep their jobs. The Post found that of the 281 bus drivers and escorts who endangered children between December 2015 and 2017, only 32 were fired.
Hartzog said her daughter used to be cheerful, but since the incident, the girl’s peers refer to her as “the lost puppy” and she is now anxious and depressed.