CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) — A Chicago Ridge grandmother is outraged after her nonverbal 4-1/2-year-old grandson was unaccounted for over a period of an hour and 40 minutes, when he was supposed to be on a school bus heading home.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reported, Deb Pyznarski said what is most upsetting about all this is that her grandson, who has autism, cannot tell her what happened.
Pyznarski said she was expecting her grandson, Colin, to be dropped off by the school bus at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
“At 11:35, 11:40, you’re thinking the bus is just a little late. By 11:45, you’re a little panicked,,” Pyznarski said. “Put a call into the bus company and they said, ‘Give us five minutes.’”
As more time passed and her grandson didn’t arrive, Pyznarski called Alpha School Bus Company in Crestwood. She then called Colin’s school, Spaulding Developmental Learning Program, which is part of the Eisenhower Cooperative in Midlothian.
She said call after call, she was told, “Nobody can tell you where he is.”
Pyznarski’s husband, Robert, is also the chief of police in Chicago Ridge.
“My husband himself, after we filed a missing-persons report for my grandson, went to the bus company himself and demanded to find out where the bus was as a law enforcement officer – and was told that that information could not be given out,” Pyznarski said.
Pyznarski filed two police reports – one in Chicago Ridge, the other in Crestwood. In the Crestwood police report, the director of regional operations for the bus company told police the driver got lost while driving Colin home and didn’t contact them.
The report also says there was a helper or bus attendant on the bus too.
“You can’t tell me, that school bus doesn’t have a phone on it; a communication device on it, that that school bus driver could not have called and said, ‘I’m lost,’” Pyznarski said.
Pyznarski also asked to look at the video on the school bus. She was told some buses have cameras and some don’t, and also, some of the cameras work and some don’t. She said she is going to let law enforcement handle that part of the investigation.
Pyznarski said the incident has taken a toll on her daughter – Colin’s mother.
“She’s 16 weeks pregnant and we spent the afternoon at the hospital making sure her babies were OK, because she collapsed on the front lawn when the bus finally arrived,” Pyznarski said.
That was an hour and 40 minutes later.
“We must make these bus companies responsible,” Pyznarski said. “In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for an incident like this to occur.”
The school declined to comment. Alpha School Bus Company never got back to us with a comment for this story.