HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. - A school bus driver and monitor facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, after police say a 3-year-old child with special needs was left unattended for almost three hours Monday.
The little girl is enrolled in a special needs pre-school program at Beginnings Child Care Center in Berlin, in Rensselaer County.
The parents of 3-year-old Selena Bessette say when the bus came to their house in Hoosick Falls to pick her up Monday at 8:30 a.m., they assumed she was off to school like any other day.
Instead, police say the child did not get off the bus, and neither the driver nor monitor noticed.
"I was upset, I really was, I thought she was in school all of this time until I get this phone call," says Jesse Bessette.
Bessette holds his 3-year-old daughter Selena, describing how upset he was when he learned the little girl had been left on her school bus unattended for three hours, never making it inside school.
Bessette and his wife Melody are asking how it happened in the first place. "It was a small bus, how can you miss one little girl?" asks Bessette.
"My big trust with the buses is getting the kids to school and getting them home," adds his wife.
Police say the bus dropped several students off at the day care in Berlin around 9:00 a.m., but Selena did not get off the bus.
The bus was left in a lot in Menands from 10:00 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. as the temperature climbed. At that point, the bus monitor noticed the girl was still strapped in her car seat.
"All I could think of was the heat of those buses," says Melody Bessette. "They get pretty warm, even if you have a cracked window, they are really warm."
The child received medical treatment at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center for mild dehydration.
The bus is owned by Northland Transportation, which is contracted and paid for by Rensselaer County. They confirm both the school bus driver and monitor were fired.
The owner of the company, who says she is devastated by what happened, calling it a terrible accident.
State police say both the driver and monitor, 31-year-old Eric Ramm of Cohoes and 59-year-old Thomas Kottackal of Albany are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child and released on appearance tickets.
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