Brevard school bus driver rescues toddler found wandering alone

Woman places 2-year-old boy on bus, contacts police

COCOA, Fla. – A Brevard County school bus driver rescued a toddler whom she discovered wandering alone near a road, officials said.

Brevard County Public Schools said Rene Carpenter was driving her route on Tuesday, the first day of school, in Canaveral Groves when she noticed the boy, who was wearing only a diaper, at the end of a driveway with no adults around.

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“I beeped a couple of times to maybe scare him back up (the drive) and all he did was cover his little ears,” she said.

Carpenter stopped the bus, and she and two instructional assistants from Cocoa High School, put the boy, later identified by police as 2 years old, on board and waited for police, who were contacted by a bus dispatcher, officials said.

“(The aid) got off the bus and he jumped right up in her arms, so he would’ve went to anybody, which is kind of a real scary thought, so fortunately, we were there,” said Carpenter, who added that she knocked on the door of the house but no one answered.

“This could have saved this small child’s life,” said Katherine Allen, of BCPS. “We are so thankful to have drivers who are attentive to the needs of all children in our community and not just those who ride our school buses.”

Police took custody of the child, who was quickly reunited with his mother, according to Brevard County sheriff’s spokesman Tod Goodyear.

The sheriff’s office said the boy’s mother left the child with her roommate while she took her other children to school. At some point, the toddler left his home without anyone realizing he was gone, Goodyear said.

“There’s locks that you can put on at a height that they can’t reach,” said Goodyear, providing a warning to parents. “(Children are) not going to be able to get out, even if they manipulate the door and open it, they can’t get out.”

No charges will be filed in the case, sheriff’s officials said.

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