NBC 4 New York
A boy with autism was found wandering on a tricycle in the middle of a busy road while he was supposed to be in school. Checkey Beckford reports.
A 12-year-old boy with autism left his school and rode a tricycle through a busy road in Yonkers during rush hour Friday.
Doreen Rubin, who works for a bus company, said she received a call from one of her drivers who noticed a boy dodging traffic on Saw Mill River Road late Friday afternoon.
"He was coming down the middle of the road when my driver was leaving, and the traffic was going all around him like he wasn't even there," said Rubin.
Rubin rushed to help and get the boy to safety in a nearby parking lot. That's when she realized the boy had autism.
She and her husband drove to a nearby school that caters to children with special needs.
"My husband went up there and said to the staff, 'Are you missing a student?'" said Rubin. "They were kind of like all wide-eyed and saying, 'Oh, my goodness.'"
Ferncliff Manor released a statement saying its authorities were "distressed and disappointed," and noted that while the boy had a long history of "elopement" at home, he had not run away from the school since he started attending it in 2007.
"He was able to leave through a playground gate that was not latched and rode his adaptive tricycle off our property," the statement said. "We are most grateful for the caring neighbor who rightfully has expressed her concerns."
The school claimed the student was gone for only 10 minutes, but Rubin said he was with her for at least that long, not counting the time he spent on the road.
Ferncliff Manor said its officials have since fired the boy's aide and put in new protocols for playground use.
"Additional fencing is being installed and appropriate agencies and family members have been notified," said the school.
Rubin said she's grateful the boy is OK.
"I'm very glad that he was safe," she said.