Surveillance Video Show Bus Driver Left Sleeping 5-Year-Old Alone, Crying on Bus for 13 Minutes

A 5-year-old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was left alone and crying on a bus for several minutes on Friday evening after the driver failed to make sure every child had exited before leaving herself.

A surveillance video shows most of the young passengers on the Special Transit Services bus filing off at the Chambliss Center for Children while the little boy continues to sleep only two rows behind the driver. Without looking back, she then returns the bus to the STS’s parking lot and leaves — again, without checking for any children — because it’s the end of her shift.

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Next, the video shows the boy waking up and crying for help. He was alone for about 13 minutes, Nancy Sutherland, Executive Director of the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency, which governs the STS, tells PEOPLE. Eventually, he was able to find the button that opened the door and ask an STS employee in the lot for help.

Sutherland adds that there were multiple head counts and other “safeguards” that should’ve been carried out by the driver to prevent the incident from happening, and that the employee has since been terminated.

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“I’m deeply troubled by the way everything took place,” Sutherland tells PEOPLE. “I’m grateful that no harm happened to that boy and am apologetic to the family and all the other individuals we transport on a regular basis.”

The Chambliss Center for Children did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. The Special Transit Services declined to comment.

The director of the center, Phil Acord, discussed how the incident transpired with local ABC affiliate News 9.

“The STS driver is supposed to walk through, which she did not do,” he told the outlet. “Our teacher is supposed to walk through … She looked under the seats. She looked for legs and book bags and didn’t see anything, and then when the driver gets back to the STS and parks her bus, she’s supposed to go back again.”

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He added to ABC’s Good Morning America: “If everyone had done their jobs like they were supposed to, the boy would’ve been located and gotten off.”

The boy’s mother, Uneisha Bradford, was extremely disturbed by what happened.

“What if those people weren’t out there?” she told News 9 of the stranger who rescued her son. “Anybody could’ve got him … if he was still wandering the parking lot.”

She continued to Good Morning America: “[The bus driver] should’ve actually gotten up and done her checks instead of talking to the other bus drivers.”

After watching the surveillance video, Bradford told ABC 9, “He’s not getting back on the bus.”

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