GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It was a mother’s intuition that may have saved an autistic teen’s life, after his bus driver allegedly forgot about him.
Goodyear Police just released new documents that show how she found him.
It happened in early July.
According to the police report, after putting her son on the bus, bound for Precious Home Services, his mother went to the center to pick him up early because she 'had a feeling.'
When she got there, the staff told her her son was marked absent.
That's when they realized he was still inside the van.
His mother told police the 16-year-old has autism, nonverbal and legally blind.
Unable to unbuckle himself or yell for help, he sat in the hot van for two and a half hours.
He was found dehydrated and exhausted, but alive.
The heat even started affecting the detectives. As they were taking photos, the detective's phone shut down due to the temperature, and a heat gun they were using malfunctioned.
The temperature inside the van was 129 degrees.
The detective noted the child would have died if left in the van much longer. He added, if the teen's mother did not come, he likely would never had been found by staff.
"I'm so heartbroken because of this whole situation, you know?" the driver, Diana Salgado-Gutierrez, said in a recorded phone interview with police.
Salgado-Gutierrez was tearful as she explained to police she thought another employee had unloaded the boy.
"I think about what would have happened if something happened to him, and you know the whole situation is just so hard for me right now," she said.
Salgado-Gutierrez and another employee were fired. The center found they did not follow the policy to check the vehicles before parking them.
That driver was arrested but is being charged with endangerment and child abuse.