A Forsyth County, North Carolina, child suffered minor injuries after she was dragged by a school bus for nearly a mile.
The incident occurred on Dec. 7. Highway Patrol received a phone call about a “child drug by a school bus,” My Fox 8 reported.
Union Cross Elementary School first grader Chelsea Klepzig, 6, was getting off the bus when the driver reportedly closed the door on her arm. The grandmother witnessed the whole thing, according to Chelsea’s parents.
“I had to follow him,” Estrella Klepzig, Chelsea’s grandmother, told My Fox 8. “I kept flashing him to stop, stop because I didn’t see her feet anymore. [He] didn’t even give her a chance to move. She was still in the door.”
Chelsea was dragged by the school bus for nearly a mile. Her parents said they feared she would have lost her grip and fallen underneath the bus if she had any less of her body stuck in the door.
The bus driver didn’t notice that the girl was stuck in the door until the next stop. The doors finally opened and Chelsea fell to the ground.
Chelsea’s parents said the bus driver is supposed to wait for students to cross in front of the bus and onto the other side of the road before driving away.
“If he was following any kind of procedure that he should be following, why didn’t he notice that my child didn’t make it around the front of the bus,” John Klepzig, Chelsea’s father, said.
Chelsea was able to escape from the incident with minor bruises and scratches.
“It scared me,” John added. “I didn’t know how to react to it. Just to realize what had happened to her, it just tore me up.”
The following day, Theo Helm, the chief of staff at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said he was “so thankful the student is OK and it was not worse.” He confirmed that the bus driver was a substitute who had been employed with the school since 2000.
The bus driver has reportedly been suspended without pay and recommended for dismissal. No charges have been filed at this time and the Highway Patrol is still investigating the incident.
The school sent out memos to parents and encouraged all 17 students who were on the bus at the time of the incident to speak to a school counselor. Bus drivers were also given notices reminding them of their training, Helm said.