Van Driver Guilty After Leaving Child Outside West Fork Preschool
WEST FORK (KFSM) — The driver of a school van, who left a three-year-old girl in the vehicle for more than four hours outside a West Fork preschool, was found guilty Tuesday (Jan. 5) of endangering the welfare of a minor in the third-degree, which is a misdemeanor.
Connie Ramey, 56, was sentenced to 60 days in jail suspended and a $750 fine, according to West Fork District Court.
Ramey left the young girl on the school van outside Growing God’s Kingdom on Sept. 9, according to police reports.
Growing God’s Kingdom is owned by Justin and Marsha Harris. Justin Harris is an Arkansas state representative.
After noticing the child in the van later in the day, Ramey got the child something to drink before notifying the Harrises, police reports state. Once the child was inside, Marsha Harris took off the girl’s clothes and began to wet her down, according to police reports. While waiting for EMS to arrive, Ramey and Harris took the child’s temperature and changed her clothes since she had wet herself while inside the van, the report states. The girl’s temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the report.
According to transportation requirements for child care centers issued by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, a child care facility has to maintain a roster listing the date, names and ages of all children being transported and the roster is to be used to check children on and off the vehicle when they are picked up and dropped off at home and the child care facility.
The requirements also state the driver or facility staff member is required to walk through the vehicle and physically inspect each seat to make sure no child is left behind. The person who checked the vehicle must also sign the roster to verify there were no children left on board. To make sure all the children are at the child care facility, a designated person at the facility is required to check the transportation roster against attendance records and sign off on it.
Any vehicles that transport more than seven passengers and a driver are also required to have a child safety alarm device installed. The alarm system requires the driver to walk to the very back of the vehicle to be turned off.