A 4-year-old boy was seriously injured in a hit-and-run on Thursday, Aug. 22, after he was let off at the wrong bus stop in Holiday, Florida.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Troopers, a blue Chevy S10 pickup truck struck Joseph Soto near the intersection of Flora Avenue and Excalibur Street and then fled.
Joseph’s mother, Jennifer Moore, is asking the driver to turn himself or herself in. She also raised concerns after the school bus driver dropped her son off at the wrong bus stop right before the incident happened.
“Please turn yourself in. Please, this boy did not deserve this,” she said.
Joseph just started kindergarten and was excited to get on the bus, she said.
Moore said she was waiting for Joseph at his bus stop on Thursday, but when the bus came he didn’t get off.
She then followed the bus to where the driver thought Joseph was dropped off. She came across her son in the middle of the road surrounded by a group of people.
“I wanted to take my baby’s place because no baby need to lay in the road feeling like that,” said Moore.
Joseph was taken to a local hospital. He had surgery Friday and suffered from a broken femur and road rash, Moore said.
“He doesn’t even want to go back to school, he doesn’t want anything to do with the buses,” she said.
The truck that hit the little boy was last seen on westbound Gaslight Avenue, troopers said.
Florida Highway Patrol Troopers are still searching the driver of the truck.
According to Pasco County Schools, the driver of the bus in question is on administrative leave. The district is investigating the concerns the student was in a location other than his designated bus stop.
The district released the following statement:
“Pasco County Schools has a responsibility to keep children safe from the time they get on a bus to the time that they leave a bus. Pasco County Schools is investigating the concern that the injured student was in a location other than his designated bus stop. The driver of the bus in question is currently on administrative leave. The district and our Transportation Department take the safety of students seriously and have several safeguards in place for student safety on and off of school buses. Drivers are trained in these procedures annually. Part of the investigation will look at whether these safeguards were followed. Our thoughts are with the student and his family, and we hope that he recovers fully and returns to school as soon as possible.”
The district said there is not a policy related to kindergartners.