WHITTIER, Calif. — A school bus driver was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison for leaving a student with autism on a bus for several hours on a hot summer day, Whittier Daily News reports.
Armando Ramirez accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to a felony count of dependent adult abuse resulting in death, according to the newspaper. He also admitted to an allegation of proximately causing the death of Paul Lee, who was nonverbal.
Lee, 19, was found dead in an empty school bus on Sept. 11, 2015. His mother called his school when he did not come home that day. A driver checked the bus yard and found Lee, unresponsive, in the bus. School bus drivers and police tried to revive him, but were unable to.
Jonathan Lynn, Ramirez’s attorney, told Whittier Daily News that Ramirez pleaded guilty because he wanted to accept responsibility and “give closure to the victim’s family.”
Ramirez initially faced a possible maximum sentence of nine years in prison if he had been convicted, the newspaper reports.
Lee’s death prompted the passage of the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law, which requires all school buses in California, by the 2018-19 school year, to be equipped with child-check reminder alarm systems and for bus drivers to be trained on those systems.