EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Edinburg CISD police arrested a bus driver Thursday night after she allegedly left a child in a school bus, police said.
According to district officials, the child was left at Hargill Elementary School for about an hour on Thursday. Officials say the student fell asleep on the bus and woke up inside the bus after it was returned near the school.
The bus driver, identified as Sandy Mungia, has since resigned, officials said. The student was reunited with their parents.
Edinburg CISD Police Chief Ricardo Perez Jr. said Mungia was arrested Thursday night. Records show that Mungia was arrested on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. She was arraigned Friday afternoon.
At 5:24 p.m., the 5-year-old student was seen getting on the bus, according to Perez. At 6:15 p.m., the bus was seen returning to the campus. Two minutes later, Mungia exited the bus and walked off of the bus to her personal vehicle, Perez said.
At 6:18 p.m., the student remained asleep in the bus. Perez added the bus had open windows and an open door.
At 6:36 p.m., the student is seen walking westbound from the campus through the parking lot and approaches the front main gate of the school, police said. The student then crawled underneath the gate and was then seen on camera walking on the roadway.
A 20-year-old motorist stopped at an intersection and saw the child “crying and distraught,” Perez said. At 6:40 p.m., the motorist called his mother, who then called the sheriff’s office.
Edinburg CISD took over the case and began conducting the investigation.
At 7:06 p.m., officials began explaining the situation to the parents of the child, Perez said.
Police said Mungia was cooperative, and was informed that she would be charged.
At Friday’s board meeting, officials referenced that newer buses have a device that causes an alarm to go off in the back area of the bus. The driver is suppose to walk to the back of the bus to manually turn it off. Edinburg CISD Director of Transportation Alonzo Barbosa said that some of the older models used by the district do not have this device.
According to Barbosa, every bus has a minimum of four cameras, with a crew that performs day-to-day checks to make sure they are working. Officials at the board meeting suggested adding cameras that are triggered by motion-detectors.
Farias said that Mungia failed to follow protocol and the district did not take the incident lightly.
“I want to ask for forgiveness of the parents for letting them and their child down,” Edinburg CISD Board President Miguel Farias said at the meeting.
According to Hidalgo County records, Mungia’s bond was set at $20,000. District officials told ValleyCentral Mungia was released from jail on bond Friday.
ValleyCentral’s Joe De Leon contributed to this story.