LAKELAND, Fla. - A Polk County mother was in tears Thursday afternoon, when her son hadn’t shown up at his school bus stop for more than an hour.
Kelli Fuqua’s son, Jace, gets out of his Combee elementary class around 3:00 p.m. Around 4:00 p.m. Kelli got a phone call from her daughter, telling her Jace wasn’t on the school bus.
Jace usually takes bus 0524 and transfers to his sisters bus in the afternoon. Kelli found out through her daughter, the bus had rear ended a car.
“The bus driver said that his bus was an accident,” Kelli said.
Kelli had not heard from the school, she wasn’t sure how serious the accident was so she decided to go out looking for herself. By then, she had reached Highway 98 and saw her child’s bus heading towards her.
“He was drenched in sweat his clothes were soaking wet,” Kelli says her 8-year-old’s face was as red as a tomato and claims the children were sitting in a hot bus for over an hour long. Thursday’s temperatures were in the 90s.
“You could tell he had been crying his eyes out,” she said.
ABC Action News reached out to the Polk County School Board, our questions were forwarded to the bus garaged but never answered.
“How many adults were around between officers bus drivers and these kids weren't getting water, nothing,” Kelli said.
Kelli and her husband say they still haven’t been told the severity of the accident or even where it happened along U.S. Highway 98. The only information provided came in the form of an automated voice message from the school, hours after the accident had occurred.
“This was after he was already in my car and I was on my way back home,” Kelli said.
Now Jace tells his mother he’s too afraid to ride the bus. Kelli, frustrated with how the school is operating plans to pick him up until she has answers.
“To just not get an answer, I don't know I don't have sympathy for that,” she said.