A Vineland bus driver was arrested after police say he mistakenly picked up a young girl and then left her alone on a bus for an hour.
Police say William Bartley, 33, a substitute bus driver for the Vineland Board of Education, was driving a school bus on Tuesday. Investigators say he was picking up and transporting children who attend the D’lppolito School on the 1500 block of N. Valley Avenue. Around 8:30 a.m., Bartley was completing his assigned route when he mistakenly picked up a 4-year-old girl on Park Avenue and Sylvester Drive, according to investigators. Police say the girl was actually waiting for her bus with a family member in order to go to the Dallago Early Learning Center on 240 S. 6th Street. Bartley stopped the bus directly in front of them, asked if the girl belonged on the bus and she mistakenly got on board, according to investigators.
Police say Bartley continued to pick up more children along the route and dropped them off at the D’lppolito School. The girl stayed on the bus while all the other children got off, according to investigators. Bartley allegedly drove the bus to Wallace School on 688 N. Mill Road where he parked it and then left to go home without checking for any remaining children.
Police say the family member who had waited with the 4-year-old girl at the bus stop realized a short time after that “something didn’t seem right” and called the girl’s mother, who was at work. The girl’s mother called the school and was told her daughter never arrived, according to investigators. Vineland Police say they were notified and they immediately checked for the missing girl. She was found unharmed on the school bus about an hour later by school board employees, according to investigators.
Investigators say the girl wasn’t on the list of students to be picked up by Bartley. They also say he didn’t check the bus for any students after dropping them off at D’lppolito School and never checked the bus when he parked it at Wallace School.
Bartley was arrested and charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and released on a summons to appear in court.