Asleep in the bus

A young girl was reunited with her worried mother more than an hour after missing her school bus stop Tuesday afternoon.
Becky Vargo
Sep 11, 2013

Jessica Kruithoff wiped away a tear as she waited for her 5-year-old daughter at one of the 144th Avenue entrances to River Haven Village in Grand Haven Township.

“I thought she got off where they told me she got off,” Kruithoff said. “I thought someone took her.”

Even though police had just informed her that her daughter had been located — still on the school bus — Kruithoff said she wouldn’t believe it until she saw her with her own eyes.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the manufactured home community when Kruithoff called 911 for help at about 4:20 p.m. The young mother said she was waiting when the Grand Haven Area Public Schools bus made its normal stop at the intersection, but her daughter did not exit.

“I went up and banged on the doors,” Kruithoff said. “(The driver) opened and I asked for my daughter.”

Kruithoff said several of the children on the bus yelled out that her child had been dropped off at the wrong stop.

The distraught mother said she ran to her home, jumped into her car and drove to the other three bus stops for the River Haven community. She found a girl at one of the stops that she initially thought was her daughter, but it turned out to be another child.

“I came back here (and) the bus was still here,” Kruithoff said. “She had just closed the door.”

Kruithoff said she talked to the bus driver again, but the substitute driver did not know the whereabouts of the girl.

Keith Konarska, superintendent for the Grand Haven school district, said deputies contacted the school bus garage about the missing child. He said the administrative staff then contacted the bus driver and determined the girl was on the bus.

“The student was never unsupervised,” Konarska said. “The driver was still continuing on the route when she got the call from the bus garage.”

Konarska said the garage sent another driver out with a van to meet the bus and take the girl back to her stop. That way, the bus could continue on its route.

“We transport over 4,000 students every day safely,” Konarska said. “Occasionally, as students adjust to the route, they miss their stop.”

Konarska said anytime a child does not get off a bus where expected, parents should “call the bus garage and alert us immediately so we can begin helping them locate their child.”

Another bus driver for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Ray Clover, delivered the child to her appreciative mother.

“I’ve been driving 20 years,” he said. “Kids fall asleep on the bus. They miss their stop. It happens.”

Clover said he tells parents: “Bottom line, they’re always safe if they’re with us.”

Several neighborhood children gathered around during the mother-and-child reunion. Some of them had been riding around the community to look for their friend.

Kruithoff thanked them and gave Clover a hug.

“Fortunately, this turned out well for everybody,” Konarska said. “We’re very happy about that.”
 

Comments

sp1982

I'm glad that they spun this story to be so positive when in reality, the sub bus driver was not doing her job correctly. What this article does not mention is that the driver not only did not pay attention to where this little girl should have gotten off but had let another little girl off at the wrong stop just before this one. I know because I helped look for both of them! I would be irate if these were my small children!

rukidding

If I were you I would be irate too. All of the irateness aside; how is this even close to a story? And, a girl fell asleep on a bus. And, how did the mother not climb on the bus to check if her daughter was there when the bus was at her stop? And, how did the driver not suggest she do so? Since this is obviously a training issue, JUST DO IT, and maybe not embarrass the drivers, scare parents, etc.

sp1982

The mother did go on the bus, as did someone else there at the time. There was a lot of confusion tho because as I said, there was another small child missing at the same time that had been let off at the stop just before the one in the article!

mama-shue

Really people do you expect a sub bus driver to know each child by name and face, especially at a stop that has multiple kids getting off? The mother should have called the bus garage first before calling the police. And the if the mother boarded the bus, as stated, why didn't she walk to the back of the bus checking each seat for her daughter? She shouldn't believe a bus full of kids that her daughter got off.

Emcurrier

She got on the bus and the driver said that she got dropped off already!!! I am not the mother.. But, I also went to the bus and she told me the same thing...

Emcurrier

Also, she did call first and they didn't know where the girl was. Because the driver said she was dropped off.

ghresident

I thought bus drivers were suppose to check their buses after they stop when all the kids have exited?

Glad there was a happy ending.

sp1982

For the Y5s and Ks kids, the bus driver is supposed to SEE a parent for those kids at the stop BEFORE they let them off. At least, thats how they have always done it in the past. And, I have children at that stop in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades.

mama-shue

The bus wasn't empty yet. There were kids that still had to be dropped off at different stops. They check after all the kids have been dropped off.

ohmygosh

the bus driver herself told the mom that she already dropped her daughter off. so if i were the mom, i would be freaking out too. the bus driver also said to her, "i dont know where your kid is" and just drove off. she did call the bus garage but the bus driver kept telling evryone that all the kids got dropped off, noone was on the bus. so ya ther was confusion but she reacted just as i wuld. if someone told you they dont knoe where ur kid is, that they alredy dropped them off at a different stop, a long with all the kids on the bus, you wuldnt believe them and freak?

bigdeal

drop ur phone, u r not texting!!!! Did you ever learn proper ENGLISH??!
What a non-story...

Emcurrier

I was also one that went up to the bus, and talked to the bus driver.
Her response was I am a sub... Really you are telling me that you are a sub and you allowed this little girl off the bus? My daughter goes to Robinson school, And her bus driver won't let her off the bus unless I am there. " A fourth grader that knows where she is at and where she lives! This mother was besides herself, put yourself in her shoes... " The driver saying she dropped her off at a different stop but didn't know where she was! This NOT only happened to one child but two!!!! By the same driver!!! This is a person that we keep our children's life in the hands of???? SCARY thought huh!!! Train your SUBS better!!!

ithinkso1

Here's a thought, why don't all you people that have all the answers do a couple things, A. Learn to spell and proofread before you post, and B. Go to the bus garage and sign up to be trained as a sub. I'm sure the school is in need of good subs.

mama-shue

Very well said!!!

mama-shue

Once again do you expect every sub to know the names and faces of all the kids that ride the bus??? Or which ones need a parent there when they get off? And as stated in the article the little ones can get confused as to which stop they are suppose to get off at. I have a lot of respect for the sub drivers because it takes a lot of training and patience to be a bus driver. In the end just be happy that no harm came to the child, in fact she probably didn't even know she was missing.

sp1982

The children that are supposed to not be let off the bus without the driver seeing their parents actually have visible tags on their backpacks to prevent things like this from happening. So, to answer your question, Yes! Even the sub should know!!

mama-shue

And everyone follows the rules. Just like no texting and driving. If you think about it the driver didn't let her off so the driver really isn't at fault here. It was said that the other kids on the bus said that she was let off so the driver probably went with what the kids said because she figured that they knew her and the driver didn't. Confusion is what this all is and now that everyone knows what is "suppose" to be done it shouldn't happen again but in a realistic world we know things happen. Move on and be happy that no one was hurt, except for the bus driver, who is basically being called incompetent by you. Maybe you should start driving your kids to/from school because the bussing isn't up to your standards.

LongGone

So you're telling me that the girl's own mother physically got on the bus herself to look, but somehow did not spot her own daughter, yet everyone feels that the substitute bus driver is expected to know every little girl riding that bus (without ever having met them), AND know who their parents are at each stop?!?! For Heaven's sake, the mother wasn't even able to identify her own daughter!

An unfortunate mixup for sure. Thank you to the substitute bus driver for taking a job that is obviously under-appreciated by some "manufactured home community" low-lives...I mean "parents".

Emcurrier

Thank the lord it wasn't your child. She didn't get all the way on the bus read the previous comments jack a**! I don't live in a manufactured home.. I live in a trailer :)

GHJames

If this is the worst thing to happen around here all day and actually takes up half the front page then I know I live in the right place to raise my family. The real story here is that this was the most newsworthy event they could come up with so we must live in a pretty decent place. Don't you think?

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