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Driver who left Cambridge 5-year-old on bus is fired

The driver who left a 5-year-old Cambridge boy alone on a locked bus for about three hours last Thursday has been fired.

Jim Misercola, director of employee relations for Eastern Bus Co., said the driver, whose name was not released, was fired Tuesday morning after the company’s investigation.

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“Obviously, what happened was very regrettable,” Misercola said Tuesday.

The boy, Reign Dendy, was supposed to be dropped off last Thursday at Margaret Fuller House in Cambridge for an after­school program after being picked up from school.

But when the child’s mother, Tara Dendy, arrived after 5 p.m., the afterschool program told her he had never arrived.

Jim Maloney, the chief operating officer for the Cambridge public schools, said the mother called police and the boy was found locked in the bus in the Eastern Bus Co. yard in Somerville at around 6:30 p.m., ­almost three hours after the bus had been parked in the lot.

“We’re incredibly disappointed in the fact that this ­occurred,” Maloney said.

Misercola said Eastern Bus Co. immediately placed the driver on unpaid leave and began investigating. The driver had been on the job for about four years; Misercola said he was not aware of any previous problems.

Misercola said the company found that the driver failed to conduct a posttrip inspection of the bus and that the driver was fired as a result.

Maloney said that Eastern Bus Co. has been providing school bus service in ­Cambridge for about 15 years and that he did not know of any previous such incident. The company is in the third year of a five-year contract.

School officials met with the bus company Tuesday to discuss how to prevent it from happening again, Maloney said.

The bus was equipped with a Child Check-Mate System, which requires a driver to walk to the back of a bus and press a button before exiting, Misercola said. If the driver exits without pressing the button, the vehicle’s horn is supposed to sound and the lights will flash. .

Misercola said the device is not required by state law, but was on the bus that picked up the boy last week. The company is investigating whether the device was working, he said.

Misercola said that the drivers are still required to inspect the bus after a trip and that the company reminds them multiple times each year.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Brock Parker can be reached at brock.globe@gmail.com.
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