Child dragged by school bus after backpack gets caught in door
EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- A mother says she's demanding answers.
Excelsior Springs native Vikki Hopkins says her child's life was put in jeopardy, when he was dragged down a street near the family's home by his school bus.
Remington Hopkins, 7, says he screamed for his life. Police in Excelsior Springs confirm the first grader was pulled beside a school bus after part of the backpack he was wearing was caught in the bus door.
Vikki Hopkins says it was a terrifying experience. She hurried home from work in a panic, after Remington, who got stuck while trying to exit his school bus, couldn't get loose after, according to Hopkins, the driver slammed the bus door shut too soon.
"The bus was right there and when I tried to get off, he closed the door too soon," Remington Hopkins said, while pointing toward the intersection of Miller Street and May Avenue.
The child says on Thursday, he was leaving the bus, his usual ride home from Lewis Elementary School when it caught the hook on his backpack in the door.
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"When I got off, (the driver) shut the door too quickly. It caught on my thing and it started dragging me a little bit up the hill," Remington Hopkins said.
Remington says he was dragged for about a third of a city block, and couldn't get free. Parents and children shouted for the driver to stop, but the driver didn't hear them.
"The wheel was a little bit in front of me so I was getting scared to death because if it let go, I could go under the wheel," Remington Hopkins said.
Vikki Hopkins says once a neighbor finally slowed the driver down, an argument broke out.
"(The female neighbor) said, 'Pull the bus over. You aren't going anywhere. The police are going to be here any second'," Vikki Hopkins told FOX 4 News.
She took her son to a nearby hospital, where doctors found he had big scratches on his hands, back and leg. Hopkins says she's upset that the driver didn't check on her son's well-being after the accident.
"He endangered the life of my son. He endangered the life of the students on the bus. He was reckless. He was heartless," Hopkins said.
The Excelsior Springs School District contracts its bus service to Apple Bus Lines. Pam Caskey, a spokesperson for Apple, tells FOX 4 News the driver followed all procedures in this incident.
"My mom says I'm never going to ride the bus again. I'm going to be a car rider until next year," Remington Hopkins said.
"What could have happened? I don't even want to think about what could have happened," Vikki Hopkins said.
Excelsior Springs School District leaders notified parents of the incident with a series of telephone calls on Thursday night. Some of those parents came to the scene of the accident, picking their children up in their private cars.
The Hopkins family, as well as other parents whose children were on that bus, told FOX 4 News the driver in question was a substitute, and got lost while delivering students to their stops. Apple Bus Lines refused to comment on the driver, or to say whether or not he is being disciplined.