The boy’s mother Kwanta Bunngam said yesterday (Aug 2) that she hopes bus drivers and transport authorities learn a lesson from the tragedy. She spoke after a hospital confirmed her son, Gaga, had died after earlier entering a coma brought on by the heat in the vehicle.
She was forced to watch her son admitted to a hospital on Monday (July 31) after the first-grader was left in the back seat of a pickup truck, modified for transporting students.
Earlier that day, the boy and seven other students were picked up and driven to Wat Choeng Len School in Bang Sai district. However, the driver, Bunlert Watthaki, did not check whether all his passengers had left the vehicle before he drove it back home.
Usually he lowers the windows and cleans the vehicle right after work. “But on Monday, the sky was dark and cloudy so I entered my house immediately,” Mr Bunlert said.
About 1pm, his housemaid told him she spotted a student on the rear seat, prompting him to rush the boy to Bang Pa-in Hospital, he said. The young patient was later sent to Ayutthaya Hospital.
The 57-year-old driver, who has worked in the school bus business for four years, admitted he was careless and his vehicle was unlicensed to carry passengers. He plans to ordain as a monk to make merit for Gaga.
The boy’s parents will donate his body to the Red Cross Society and are contemplating legal action.
Chang Yai Police chief Sathit Sangprapai said police charged Mr Bunlert on two counts – committing a careless act causing injury, and providing an unlicensed public transport service.
Relatives of Mr Bunlert, who is in police custody, stopped reporters from interviewing the driver, who was stressed.
Ms Kwanta said the incident was another lesson for all school bus drivers who should make sure they check whether students are still in their vehicles.
A similar event occurred in Samut Prakan in 2003 when a three-year-old kindergarten girl was left in a school van by a driver and also a teacher, which sent her into a coma.
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