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5-year-old boy left on school bus found wandering in Madison

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 10:32 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A five-year-old boy is safe after he was left on a school bus after not being dropped off at his home and left behind after the driver returned to the depot.

Anthony Watson eventually got out of the bus through the emergency exit and was found shortly before 7 p.m. wandering by himself near E. Rusk Ave, the Madison Police Dept. stated. He was soon reunited with his father, Antonio Watson.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life. When the bus didn’t come I called my girlfriend Amber and said Anthony is missing, I can’t find him, the bus never came,” he said.

Both the Madison Metropolitan School District and the school bus company, Badger Bus, are conducting investigations into the incident.

“We are deeply saddened and disturbed by this incident and are thankful for the assistance provided by the police. Our apologies go out to the parents, MSCR staff at Lake View, and the Madison School district for this regrettable incident,” Badger Bus co-owner John Meier said.

“We went to his school, talked to some people at the school and they didn’t know. So I started panicking, I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know what to think or what to do. I thought the worst,” Watson continued.

“MMSD is taking this incident very seriously and has been in close contact with the family as well as Badger Bus leadership to ensure corrective steps are taken and incidents like this do not happen again,” the district said in a statement.

A district spokesperson explained there are procedures Badger Bus is contractually obligated to follow and they did not happen in this case.

“Although it was determined there was no malicious intent by the driver, we have been assured the driver will no longer be providing services to MMSD,” the district added.

Meier confirmed to NBC15 News that the driver is no longer employed with the company.

Police say no charges are pending at this time.

“I already value him to death. So it taught me to hug and kiss more everyday and just the thought of something happening to him and I couldn’t be there to help him,” Watson added.

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