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3-year-old left sleeping on bus for an hour, her mom says

Jennie Hernandez with her 3-year-old daughter Montserrat Hernandez

Jennie Hernandez with her 3-year-old daughter Montserrat Hernandez at their home in Freeport, Tuesday Oct. 4, 2016. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

A Freeport mother says her 3-year-old daughter was left sleeping on a school bus last Friday for about an hour before she was discovered by the bus driver and returned home.

Jennie Hernandez, 41, said she received a frantic call from her baby-sitter last week telling her that her daughter, Montserrat, did not return home from her pre-K program at the Columbus Avenue School in Freeport.

Typically, Montserrat, who has a speech impairment, is dropped off by the school bus at her baby-sitter’s house about 3 p.m., Hernandez said. But when the school bus arrived last Friday, the bus driver told Hernandez’s baby-sitter that Montserrat was not on board.

Hernandez, who was a school bus driver for more than 10 years and now works for NICE bus, said she contacted Columbus Avenue and was told that her daughter had boarded the bus.

“My body went numb. I couldn’t think. I didn’t know what to think,” Hernandez said.

About an hour later she received a call from her baby-sitter, saying Montserrat had fallen asleep in the back of the vehicle and had been dropped off by the school bus about 4 p.m.

Baumann Bus, the company used by the Freeport school district, is currently investigating the complaint, spokesman Jim Poisella said. He said it is policy for Baumann bus drivers to check the vehicle for sleeping children.

Hernandez said she’s upset that the bus driver did not know that her daughter had fallen asleep.

“For an hour, it was like the world stopped,” Hernandez said. “I don’t want this to happen to any other mother in the world.”

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