SALT LAKE CITY — The 17-year-old mentally disabled boy who fell out of a moving school bus on I-80 could be released from the hospital soon, school officials say.
The student, whose name has not been released, apparently opened the emergency exit door in the back of a school bus Monday as it traveled on eastbound I-80 near 2400 East.
Because the bus does not have an air conditioner, many of the windows were open, making it hard for both the bus driver and the adult "attendant" on board to hear the alarm that went off when the door was opened, according to Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. Neither adult realized the boy had fallen out for about a minute to 90 seconds after the accident.
Other motorists behind the bus saw the incident and called 911. "We were right in back of him," an unidentified motorist told a dispatcher. "He opened the back door of the bus and tumbled out."
Fortunately, the boy was not hit by any other vehicle. He was taken to Primary Children's Medical Center.
Horsley said the boy suffered road rash and some cuts that required stitches, but otherwise was in good shape. Because the boy was a special needs student, he was held overnight at the hospital, he said. Otherwise, he may have been able to go home Monday evening. The boy may go home as early as Tuesday evening or in several days, Horsley said, adding that there was just no way to tell.
The boy is a student at Hartvigsen School, 3605 S. 350 East, which provides education services for special needs students. The students who attend the school are described as being "medically fragile or severely medically disabled," Horsley said. The disabilities vary from physical to mental.
Before school Tuesday, the district met with the bus drivers and attendants to remind them of safety procedures and their responsibilities. All drivers and attendants are required to take refresher safety courses each August, he said.
The 68-year-old bus driver and adult attendant from Monday's accident remained on standard leave Tuesday pending the outcome of an investigation.