5-year-old leaves home alone, boards bus, winds up at Clackamas - KPTV - FOX 12

5-year-old leaves home alone, boards bus, winds up at Clackamas Town Center

Posted: Updated: Jul 23, 2015 08:18 PM
TriMet bus route TriMet bus route

Police say a 5-year-old girl walked out of her SE Portland home early Thursday morning, hopped on a bus and wound up at Clackamas Town Center, all alone. 

Witnesses say they watched the girl walk to the bus stop of 122nd and Foster road around 5 am.  It was a sight so concerning, it caught the attention of employees at a nearby gas station.

“I was actually woken up by my father, who noticed the 5-year-old girl all alone,” said Chevron employee Ginger McDaniel. “He saw her getting on the TriMet bus, and I get a call from him panicking, like ‘what should we do,’ so I told him, ‘call police,’” said McDaniel.

Witnesses say before they could get to the girl the bus drove off, so they called police to let them know what they saw.

“Who in their right mind would ever let a 5-year-old girl on the bus alone, if that was my family, or my child, I’d be very very upset at the moment,” said McDaniel.

By this point, police tell FOX 12, the girl’s parents realized she was missing and also called 911.  Police say they issued out an alert to other agencies to keep an eye out for the girl. 

Turns out, Clackamas County deputies found her on a bus platform at Clackamas Town Center around 7:30 am.   

A map, which shows the bus route on TriMet’s website, shows that the 5-year-old traveled some 20 miles, before hopping off at the mall.

“I’m just very blessed the girl returned home to her family safely today, that was the big key thing today, that she got home safely,” McDaniel said. 

TriMet tells FOX 12 that they do train their all of their drivers to keep an eye out for kids who appear lost, or confused, and drivers typically report if they find a kid who is clearly in jeopardy or alone. 

They add that they are now conducting an internal investigation into what happened.

TriMet says they have no age requirement to be able to ride alone, and they leave that up to the parents. But say if a “very young” child boarded the bus and the driver was concerned for their safety, that driver would typically contact their command center to have a record of the situation. 

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