CHOCTAW, Okla. (KFOR) – A Choctaw mother is frightened and now demanding answers after her 5-year-old daughter was nearly hit by a car after being dropped off at the wrong bus stop location.
“I told myself I can’t replace Harley. I can’t replace her. She’s irreplaceable,” said Shelby Wilkins. “I couldn’t lose my kid and it takes my breath away every time I think about it.”
Wilkins told KFOR her daughter, Harley, attends West Fall Elementary and the kindergartener rides the bus to her grandmother’s house five days a week.
However, that didn’t go as planned on Monday afternoon.
“Harley got dropped off in the middle of the neighborhood,” said Wilkins. “She doesn’t know where she’s at, and she’s 5. She’s in kindergarten. She’s can’t even spell her name all the way.”
Wilkins told KFOR a high school friend watched Harley desperately run after the bus as it took off.
The eye-witness told the mom a car almost hit her and she immediately called the police.
Off-duty Choctaw police captain Robert Bosse kept Harley until her mother came to pick her up.
“I’m really glad the citizen stepped in and Captain Bosse just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Chief Kelly Marshall with the Choctaw Police Department.
But the simple mistake is traumatizing for Harley’s mother.
“Someone could’ve picked her up, and then I would have never seen my daughter again because someone wasn’t doing their job,” said Wilkins. “It’s just really hard because I have a lot of faith in the Choctaw school system, and I have a lot of faith that they’ll keep my kid safe.”
After reviewing the bus’ security footage, police told KFOR Harley told the bus driver it was her stop.
“From what I saw, the bus driver said is this your stop and she said yes,” said Marshall.
KFOR contacted Choctaw-Nicoma Park Schools for a statement regarding the incident:
“The Choctaw-Nicoma Park School District was made aware of a situation during which a student was dropped off at the wrong bus stop yesterday afternoon. The district was devastated to learn this occurred with one of our students as the safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.
An internal investigation revealed that a substitute bus driver neglected to follow the district protocols in place to prevent this type of incident. Our district is taking measures to ensure all safety protocols are reviewed and strictly adhered to moving forward.
We are working with the family involved as well as the Choctaw Police Department. We continually evaluate our safety measures to ensure all students are transported safely.
We express our apologies to the student and family for the situation that occurred.”David Reid, Superintendent
Wilkins told KFOR even though it was a substitute driver, he was not a stranger to Harley’s route.
“He said he didn’t recognize her face, and he didn’t know, but that should be a red flag if you don’t recognize the kid,” said Wilkins. “I understand that we’re all human, and we all make mistakes, but this one cost my 5-year-old her life.”