School bus driver facing charges

Keyla Rivera

NAUGATUCK — A bus driver is facing charges after a borough teen said she dropped him off nearly 2 miles from his house last month in a snowstorm, leaving him to walk home.

Another teen dropped off in the same place had to wait an hour and a half for his father to pick him up, according to police.

Keyla Rivera, a driver for First Student out of Middletown Avenue in New Haven, was driving two boys aged 14 and 15 back to the borough from the high school they attend in New Haven during the Nov. 7 storm, said Lt. Bryan Cammarata of the Naugatuck Police Department. Their school let out at 2:30 p.m., but the younger teen’s mother called police when he still wasn’t home by 5 p.m., Cammarata said.

The teen walked up to the Lincoln Street house shortly afterward, while officers were there speaking to his mother, Cammarata said.

“Her 14-year-old son arrived covered in snow and shivering and he was not dressed appropriately for the weather,” Cammarata said.

The region was surprised by several inches of snow that day, when weather forecasts called for rain or flurries.

Rivera had dropped both teens off at the McDonald’s on New Haven Road, or Route 63, which was 1.6 miles away from the younger boy’s house, according to police.

“The bus driver told him she couldn’t take him all the way home because the weather was terrible,” Cammarata said.

The older teen called his father and told police he waited an hour and a half in the McDonald’s for a ride. The younger teen walked because he did not have a phone, Cammarata said.

The bus had been having mechanical problems, possibly due to the snow, Cammarata said. The younger teen told family members the bus had been stranded in the snow in Seymour and two boys had to get out and push.

“We did have a really considerable amount of snow on the ground and we had a lot of reports of cars having trouble maneuvering,” Cammarata said.

Rivera, 36, of 237 Chapel St. in New Haven, was charged Wednesday with risk of injury to a child and second-degree reckless endangerment for leaving both teens unattended, Cammarata said. She was released on a promise to appear Dec. 19 in Waterbury Superior Court.

Timothy Stokes, a spokesman of the bus company, said Rivera was put on leave pending an investigation. He said the bus company will do its own investigation as well as work together with police.

“Anytime there is an incident of this nature we always do an investigation as well,” Stokes said.

Stokes said Rivera was hired in August of 2007. She has a clean driving and criminal record and no issues involving her had ever been reported in the past.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.