OMAHA, Neb. — A driver was cited after a student was left unattended in a school van last week, police said in a press release.
On Wednesday at 6:53 p.m., Omaha Police Department officers responded to a report of a missing 5-year-old boy, Samuel Bik, who attends Field Club Elementary School. Bik's father and brother told the officers that Bik is usually dropped off at home by a van, but he was not dropped off on Wednesday.
Officers searched the area but were not able to locate the boy. Investigators interviewed the van driver, Claude Pope, who said that he had dropped Bik off at his home.
Officers went to the facility where the student vans are located. They found Bik sitting in a seat inside the van. The boy was then reunited with his parents.
Officers cited Pope for child neglect, according to the Omaha Police Department.
In Nebraska, a Class A school bus permit is required for drivers to operate small vehicles — i.e., vans and cars with a capacity of up to 10 passengers — on a school route.
The Omaha World-Herald reported that Pope’s Class A school bus permit expired on April 18, according to state Department of Motor Vehicle records.
The Omaha World-Herald also reported that the van in the Wednesday incident is operated by Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership (ENCAP). An Omaha Public Schools spokeswoman told the news source that the district has a contract with ENCAP to transport homeless and refugee students.
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