A Georgia family faced every parent’s worst nightmare when a Georgia school bus driver left their 6-year-old daughter on side of a busy highway, alone, after school. The driver in question was reportedly a substitute working for a Georgia public school district, and in the aftermath of little Julianna Pimentel being abandoned on the side of the road, she was fired.
Bus driver fired after dropping young child off at wrong stop https://t.co/Bp7Li9pl2k— KTVU (@KTVU) January 5, 2017
As AOL News reports, the Georgia school bus driver was supposed to drop the kindergartner off at her daycare, not at her home. Julianna’s parents say they had filled out paperwork with the school to that effect. Rather, on December 16, the 6-year-old was found, frantic and terrified, by a passing motorist walking along the 55 MPH highway, Georgia State Route 20.
According to that motorist, identified as Jane Holmes, the school bus driver left the little girl alone on one of the busiest streets in the state.
“I see this little girl running—she’s running, she’s walking and she’s crying. It’s one of the busiest highways in Georgia.”
After being dropped off by the school bus driver with no adult supervision, the little girl was reportedly trying to find her way to her daycare or back to school alone.
Holmes turned her vehicle around to check on the distraught child, unaware yet of what had happened to result in her being scared and alone alongside the road. By the time Holmes reached the child, another vehicle was already parked next to her; the interaction between the six-year-old and her rescuers was captured on Holmes’ dash-cam.
“We pulled up to her and she looked at us kind of leery. I said, ‘what’s wrong sweetheart?’ and she ran to me. I lost my family because the bus took me to my house and nobody was there.”
According to Julianna’s parents, the Georgia school bus driver dropped the little girl off near her home, despite both of her parents being at work, rather than at her after-school daycare like she was supposed to. The little girl found her home, located in what has been describes as a “desolate area,” locked up tight, and tried to find her way to her daycare without the help of the school bus or driver. That was when she was picked up off the side of the road.
The six-year-old’s father, Gilaberto Pimentel, says that the daycare knew right away that something was wrong when the school bus passed by without dripping Julianna off. The daycare employee even claims that the Georgia school bus driver saw her, but passed without stopping.
“I got a text from the day care stating Julianna’s bus had passed and I have this gut feeling that something wrong was happening. They told me they were waiting for her outside. And what drives me crazy is the school bus driver acknowledged the lady from the day care standing outside, but she never stopped.”
Bus driver fired after leaving 6-year-old girl on highway https://t.co/eKTBhXXXIz What kinda people you raising Amerika?— Omar Zaid, M.D. (@OmarZaidMD) January 8, 2017
Fortunately for Julianna, she was rescued by good Samaritan Jane Holmes, who drove the kindergartner to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office, in turn, located Julianna’s panicking parents and reunited the family after the Georgia school bus driver’s egregious error in judgement – and protocol.
Mr. Pimentel says that he Juliana’s mother had submitted paperwork with her Georgia school to ensure that she be dropped off at her daycare, rather than her home, every day. Further, he claims that Juliana told the school bus driver that she needed to be dropped at “after school,” not home. Even so, the bus driver allegedly “escorted” Julianna off of the bus and left the six-year-old at her home. Alone.
“After she passed the day care, [the bus driver] asked, ‘where do you live?’ My daughter said ‘we live in the little blue house. She found the house and stopped in front of it, but my daughter told her she needed to be dropped off at after school. The woman escorted her off the bus and took off.”
When the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office found Julianna’s family (they contacted the Georgia school district for help), they managed to get in touch with the little girl’s mother first.
“My wife calls me — devastated, crying — saying, ‘they found Julianna… they found her on the side of the road.”
After Julianna’s traumatic ordeal, the school district launched an investigation into the disturbing incident. On Wednesday, they fired the Georgia school bus driver, who has now been identified as 48-year-old Shelley McKinley. Further, the school district reiterated the policy for dropping children off after school. Apparently, while some rules and regulations vary from district to district, Georgia State requires bus drivers to keep kids on the school bus if their parents (or designated persons) aren’t there to meet them – unless written permission has been given.
“If the parent is not at home, NEVER leave a child home alone without written permission from the parent. Notify the transportation office that you will continue on your route and return the child after the route. If the second return fails, then bring the child to the transportation department so that arrangements can be made to get the child home.”
In the case of Georgia school bus driver Shelley McKinley, her “fire date” was backdated to the day she unceremoniously left 6-year-old Julianna Pimentel all alone. She had reportedly worked for the Georgia district for three years without incident prior to abandoning the six-year-old.
Julianna has reportedly developed a fear of riding the bus since her ordeal, and at this point, her family is having the daycare pick her up rather than put the little girl on another school bus.
“She was an adult and she acted completely wrong. I don’t know what made her drop off my daughter without even thinking twice. I just don’t understand.”
Additionally, the Pimentel family is reportedly considering pressing criminal charges against the Georgia school bus driver fired for leaving their little girl home all alone.
[Featured Image by Stuart Monk/Shutterstock]