Stop stuff-up: Mum sues bus company for $9m
A BROOKLYN mum whose terrified 5-year-old was dropped off at the wrong stop is suing the school-bus company for $7 million.
Adrena Hartzog panicked when the bus carrying her daughter, Zariah, never arrived at Flatlands Avenue and 102nd Street, according to the New York Post.
She immediately called Leadership Preparatory Ocean Hill Charter School to find out where Zariah was, only to be allegedly left on hold for long stretches.
"Everyone was going home, about their day, while my 5-year-old was missing," she claimed.
She called Boro Transit, the company handling the charter school's transportation. But "nobody had an answer, so I begin to dial 911 and I ran," the mother recalled.
After scouring the neighbourhood, she finally found a weeping Zariah, who was so scared she had wet her pants, "screaming hysterically" more than 10 blocks away at a busy intersection with no crossing guard.
A store owner had offered the child food and called police but Hartzog had arrived before officers.
In her Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit, she claims the bus company refused to take her complaint over the September 2015 incident or even identify the driver.
Hartzog, 28, says the company claimed the driver was allowed to drop the child off at an unexpected stop.
At the time, Boro Transit said the driver was doing "a favour for another parent" by dropping a different child off closer to a grandparent's home. It's unclear what other child was involved or how the "favour" resulted in Zariah being left at the wrong stop.
The company had no immediate information about the incident, according to Boro Transit lawyer Peter Silverman, who added that the allegations "do not seem to ring true."
It's a violation of city guidelines for a child to be left at an "unauthorised" stop - and school-bus drivers face up to a six-month suspension for a first offence.
But even if the driver had been identified, it might not have mattered.
A recent investigation by The Post found school-bus drivers accused of wrongdoing rarely lost their ability to work with city school kids.
Records show that between December 015 and July 2017, at least 281 drivers and escorts endangered kids, but just 32 were fired.
The mum said the experience "was beyond terrifying."
Her lawyer, Stuart Shaw, added, "No one would co-operate with this woman."
The mother of two, who works with the disabled, says her once-bubbly child is now depressed and consistently anxious, and claims her daughter's classmates ridiculed her after the incident as "the lost puppy."
This article first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.