Parents peeved after Forest Hills fender bender leaves special ed kids stranded

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Forest Hills fender bender left seven special education students stranded on a bus for up to two hours while they waited for police, parents said.

“These are emotionally fragile children. They get scared easily,” said parent Rita Kimmel. “They have anxieties and phobias and would be more or less freaked out to be in any kind of car accident, much less stuck on the side of the road not knowing when police or their parents were going to come.”

The bus was carrying children and teens with disabilities home from The Child School and Legacy High School in Roosevelt Island on June 21, when another driver slowly pulling out of a parking space struck the side of the bus on 71st Drive and Metropolitan Avenue, parents said.

Police said there were no reported injuries, but declined to comment further.

Kimmel, who has a 12-year-old son, said she was disturbed to learn it took nearly five hours for cops to arrive to fill out an accident report.

Her son, Lucas, who suffers from anxiety and ADHD, was kept on the bus for nearly two hours

Parents were called to pick their children up at the site of the accident, but Kimmel said she and her husband could not get out of work at the time of the 3:30 p.m. crash.

“He didn’t completely fall apart, but there could have been other children on that bus that could have,” said Kimmel of Bayside. “He was very worried, very scared. There was a panic to him.”

Another parent, Lily Ng, who lives minutes away, was able to grab her child immediately.

“I’m not surprised at all for how long it took the police to come,” she said. “Not that it makes it right, but we were told it may take a very long time. It was recommended the children get picked up if possible. If I wasn’t able to get to him, I certainly would be more upset.”

According to Kimmel, both drivers called 9-1-1 around 3:30 p.m. to report the accident. They called again at 5:23 p.m. and 6:16 p.m. when no help came.

The distraught mom said cops arrived after 8 p.m.

“I was told he was safe, that it was a minor fender bender,” she said. “I was under the assumption police would be there in 10 minutes and they would be on their way. That was not the case.”

The bus company, Hoyt Transportation, and school did not return calls for comment.





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