MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It was an afternoon of terror for one Memphis mom who says her daughter was put on the wrong school bus and dropped off miles from the family home.
Tamra Crawford says she tried desperately to find her 14-year-old daughter, who disappeared after getting on a bus leaving Cordova Middle School.
"It took me an hour and 42 minutes to find her," Crawford said. "She did indeed tell the driver that 'I don't live here' and she was still placed off the bus."
The mother says her daughter was dropped off outside the Villas apartments, but the family lives about 2.5 miles away.
In an effort to find something familiar, the girl took off walking in an area with no sidewalks in an effort to make it home safe.
Shelby County Schools admits in an email quote the "student was assigned to the wrong bus by mistake and dropped off at the incorrect bus stop."
Crawford says could have ended very differently, especially after her daughter's cell phone went dead.
"I could have been standing here and reporting with all the sex trafficking, the kidnapping of these kids. That could have been my story on Wednesday," Crawford said.
She says a man saw her daughter in the rain in need of help.
"I start to see this anonymous number repeatedly calling my phone, and I start to think maybe it's her, maybe it's her."
After reassuring the worried mother her daughter was okay, he guided her to their location.
"I thank him for that, I'm grateful," she said. "I can't repay him for what he did for my family."
But what Crawford is now doing is demanding answers to prevent another family from having to endure something similar.
"The protocol needs to change," she said.
SCS says the bus driver is "being disciplined" and must be "re-trained" before returning to duty. They sent a statement:
"Providing safe transportation for our students is always a top priority, and we hold our transportation provider to high standards for dependable service and safety. A Cordova Middle student was assigned to the wrong bus by mistake and dropped off at the incorrect bus stop as a result. The bus driver is being disciplined for not taking proper steps to verify the student’s bus stop and must be retrained on SCS procedures before returning to duty. SCS Transportation representatives have also spoken with the student’s family to assure them the situation is being addressed."