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Autistic Teen Dies After Locked in Scorching School Bus

“September 11, 2015, was a typical hot summer day with temperatures nearing 100 degrees.” That’s from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a nonverbal autistic teenager. The lawsuit alleges that the bus driver picked up the Whittier, California, teen and two other students that morning.

After the bus driver finished dropping off students, he parked the bus, locking it. School officials and the Whittier police have not confirmed that the teen was left alone for around seven hours that day, but the lawsuit says he was not dropped off at Sierra Vista Adult School. He was picked up at 8 a.m. and found unresponsive about 4.25 p.m. While it’s not known if the teen was marked absent from the school for that day, his parents didn’t receive any notice that their son was absent.

The superintendent of the school district said that they have not been served with the lawsuit yet and they didn’t answer any questions about whether the teen was absent. “Our district continues to mourn his loss. [The student] was a beloved member of our school community and our prayers continue to be with his family.”

A spokesman for the Pupil Transportation Cooperative was not able to comment on the lawsuit or the circumstances surrounding the student’s death. The PTC said earlier that there was a substitute driver that day.

The teen’s cause of death is pending. The lawsuit seeks damages of an unspecified nature for the death of the teen and compensation for his family for “their injuries and tragic loss.”

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, a wrongful death attorney can provide information on your legal options.

Source: Whittier Daily News, “Autistic Whittier student left on locked school bus for 7 hours before body was found, lawsuit says,” Stephanie K. Baer, Dec. 08, 2015