Bus driver saves boy, 6, with special needs from wandering in street

MILWAUKEE (WISN/CNN) - When a little boy with special needs chased a ball into traffic during recess, a Wisconsin bus driver spotted him just in time.

The family of a 6-year-old boy, who has special needs, is hailing bus driver Cecilia Nation-Gardner as a hero for running into a busy intersection to save him.

Mother Cassandra Garrett says she’s grateful her 6-year-old son Jonathan is still alive, after he wandered off from school, chasing a ball during recess.
Mother Cassandra Garrett says she’s grateful her 6-year-old son Jonathan is still alive, after he wandered off from school, chasing a ball during recess. (Source: Family photos/WISN/Hearst/CNN)

Mother Cassandra Garrett says she’s grateful her son Jonathan is still alive. She says according to Bethune Academy Elementary, her son had a substitute teacher on the day of the incident, and he wandered off, chasing a ball during recess.

Video captured by bus surveillance camera shows cars zoom past the 6-year-old, as he walks through an intersection.

“Stay right there! Stop!” yells Nation-Gardner in the video. She then runs into traffic to rescue Jonathan, dodging oncoming cars.

"From my point of view, God put me in the right place at the right time,” Nation-Gardner said.

Garrett calls the bus driver a guardian angel.

"If it wasn't for her, I could've been planning a funeral now for my son,” she said.

His mother says Jonathan has never wandered off from school before. She thinks having a substitute teacher may have confused the 6-year-old and thrown off his routine.

Bus driver Cecilia Nation-Gardner spotted a 6-year-old boy wandering in the street and ran into the busy intersection to rescue him.
Bus driver Cecilia Nation-Gardner spotted a 6-year-old boy wandering in the street and ran into the busy intersection to rescue him. (Source: WISN/CNN)

Still, she says the incident should have never happened.

"He doesn’t cross the street without me. He doesn’t know how to cross the street by himself. They weren’t watching him,” Garrett said. “And then when she got to the classroom, y’all didn’t see his seat was empty? Y’all didn’t notice he was gone until the cops brought him back to the school.”

Milwaukee Public Schools is investigating the incident and working with Bethune Academy to review its policies and procedures. Plans to recheck student attendance throughout the day have been revised.

Copyright 2019 WISN, Hearst, Milwaukee County Transit System, Family photos via CNN. All rights reserved.