The Pella Police Department concluded an investigation following a report by the Pella Community School District about a three-year-old who was inadvertently left in a school van in April.
No criminal charges will be filed after a detective accompanies the school, the van driver and the child’s cooperating guardians. It was determined that there was no evidence of criminal intent and the child was accidentally left in the vehicle. The Pella Police Department presented the case to the Marion County Attorney and, according to a press release, “it was determined that, based on the totality of the circumstances, there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal charge.”
According to Pella Schools Superintendent Greg Ebeling, a child was left inside a vehicle parked alone in the bus parking lot for approximately two and a half hours on April 19th. The van driver did not drop the child off at preschool, as was normal practice. Ebeling says the driver’s contract has been terminated.
He says that the child was discovered inside the vehicle and is still holding her car seat and playing with items from her backpack. The district reports that the child has not suffered any physical harm. District attendance procedures and driving guidelines have been updated, and each preschool van will now have a system that will notify drivers of students left in a child seat.