Laurel police investigate report of disabled woman left on bus for hours

A disabled woman spent several hours alone on a bus last week after the driver left the vehicle in a lot in north Corbin, Laurel County Sheriff John Root said Monday in a news release.

The peak temperature on that day, July 13, reached 86 degrees. The woman's temperature had risen to 101 degrees before she was found, said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo Jr., a spokesman for Root.

The woman, 62, who is from London, was treated at Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin but was not seriously hurt, Acciardo said.

The detective investigating the case, Stacy Anderkin, plans to present evidence about the case to a grand jury next month. The possible charges include criminal abuse and wanton endangerment, according to the news release.

Police did not release the woman's name.

The woman was riding a bus operated by Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated Inc., or RTEC.

The company has its main office in Mount Vernon and provides transit services for disabled people and others in more than a dozen counties in southern and southeastern Kentucky.

The service, which uses vans and small buses, is partly financed with state and federal grants.

The woman, who is in a wheelchair and cannot speak, was being taken from an adult day-care center to her home last Wednesday.

The driver, Harvey Engle, 63, of Corbin, parked the bus in an RTEC lot in north Corbin and left.

Engle said he thought everyone was off the bus, according to news release from Root.

Another employee of the transit service later saw the woman on the bus and notified emergency dispatchers, Acciardo said.

That was at 7:36 p.m. The woman had been on the bus, which wasn't running, for close to four hours, Acciardo said.

The case highlights the need for anyone transporting other people to check their vehicles before leaving, Acciardo said.

"Just one walk through (the bus) solves all the problems," he said. "You might be saving a life."

Shirley Cummins, executive director of RTEC, did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.