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Champlin girl missing for hours after school bus driver gets lost

Updated: September 05, 2019 10:01 AM

A school bus that left Noble Academy in Brooklyn Park with young students on-board went missing for hours Tuesday evening.

"We were wondering, was she abducted?" said Rene Harrer, whose granddaughter was on that bus. "We're just assuming she is dropped off at some other city wandering around, wondering where she is at."

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Harrer's 5-year-old granddaughter was supposed to be dropped off at her bus stop at 4:15 p.m., like she had been the previous week when she started school. But on Tuesday, 4:15 p.m. became 6 p.m., and the family saw no sign of a school bus or their kindergartner.

"It was pretty scary," said Harrer. "Because if the bus was supposed to be there in 10 minutes, and it's an hour later and she's still not there. It's like, what is this driver doing with her?"

Champlin police got involved and began looking for the little girl and the bus she's supposed to be on, but Pride Transportation on Jefferson Highway didn't cooperate with their investigation.

"They hung up on our officer a couple times," said Champlin Police Chief Ty Schmidt. "They were very uncooperative in identifying themselves or the bus driver, and they gave us several fictitious locations from where the bus was at."

Harrer, like police, also called the bus company, Pride Transportation, asking where their child was.

"They kept just saying 10 minutes, 10 minutes, so we had no idea when they were really going to show up," said Harrer.

"The level of effort it took to get some information from them was pretty frustration," said Schmidt.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS went to Pride Bus Transportation's location on Wednesday, but they refused to talk.

Harrer said the bus showed up and dropped her granddaughter off after 7:30 p.m.

Champlin police said parents were then called to come pick up their children, and the bus driver told police it was his first day and he was lost.

"These are children, you're not delivering Amazon packages; you're having our precious kids in there, tell officers what's going on," said Harrer.

Harrer said her granddaughter is safe, but will not be riding on the bus anymore until this is sorted out.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the charter school multiple times to ask if they planned on using the same bus company and what their next steps are, but did not hear back. 

Police said no citations or criminal charges were filed from the incident.

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Credits

Crystal Bui

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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