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Family seeks answers after 4-year-old left unattended on 4J bus

On the hottest day of the year, 4-year-old Athena was left alone in a 4J school bus for at least 30 minutes.

Posted: Jul 29, 2019 6:39 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- One family is demanding to know how their 4-year-old daughter could have been left unattended in a school bus at the bus lot on Friday. 

Jaime Sandoval is the father of 4-year-old Athena, who was left alone on a Eugene School District 4J bus for at least half an hour in the 92 degree heat.

He said the driver picked her up from Early Childhood Cares in Eugene but didn't drop her off at home.

Instead, the driver went back to the bus barn and clocked out with Athena sitting in her seat in a seatbelt.

Sandoval is now demanding answers and said the district isn't returning his calls.

"I think more should be done," said Sandoval. "I think he should be fired. That's basic knowledge, and something you should acknowledge."

He said he hopes she's too young to remember that this ever happened. But that doesn't mean the hurt and fear isn't going to stay with the family members that will remember.

"It is still devastating, OK, don't get me wrong," said Athena's grandmother Norma Gonzalez. "When you cry at night, that's how you know it'll hurt all day."

Meanwhile, Sandoval just has one message for anyone who may see this.

"Always care," he said. "Acknowledge every moment of your child's life or any child's life at that."

Kerry Delf, a spokesperson for 4J, sent KEZI a statement confirming that the driver was put on leave, calling the incident "unacceptable."

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