New Haven police have identified and charged a bus driver in connection with leaving two special needs students inside a hot bus Thursday afternoon.
Police have charged 53-year-old Marilena Monroy, of New Haven, with two counts of risk of injury to children. The state Department of Children and Families has also opened up a case related to this incident.
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According to New Haven police, officers responded to 674 Woodward Avenue on a report that two children were left unattended on a school bus around 12:15 p.m. Thursday. Upon arrival, officers were able to open the door and locate the two students inside.
Daniel Bermudez, a 16-year-old student with autism, was one of two special needs students on the bus. Bermudez called his mother to let her know that he and another student were locked in the bus after Monroy left them there.
Daniel’s mother, Tania Bermudez, told police she found the bus using GPS tracking in her son’s phone, and called police for help once she confirmed her son was trapped inside the bus.
In addition to Bermudez, the second student was a 17-year-old girl, who is non-verbal. Officers were able to identify the girl from a class roster, and contacted her parents for pickup from the scene.
Police noted that all windows in the bus were closed except for the driver’s window, which was slightly open. Temperatures on Thursday afternoon reached the mid 90’s in New Haven, with a heat advisory due to humidity.
Police said that Monroy parked the bus at 11:44 a.m., according to the time stamp on the bus camera system. That meant that the students were locked inside of the hot bus for about 30 minutes.
Police said there were no obvious signs of physical illness or injury to either student. Both students were checked out by EMTs at the scene.
Monroy told officers she was unaware that the two teens were still on the bus. She said she drove home after she thought all of the students had been dropped off.