Child’s mother testifies in JCPS bus-dragging trial

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 12:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The civil trial involving a young girl who was dragged by a JCPS school bus resumed Monday.

Then 6 years old, the child was dragged for more than 1,000 feet in 2015, according to the lawsuit against both the district and the driver, Melinda Sanders.

The girl’s mother, Amy Ehman, was a JCPS bus driver herself at the time, and said she heard her daughter’s bus number called over the radio before they were cut off. At that point, Ehman said, she checked her phone.

“I had several missed messages and calls and the preview message said, ‘They’re dragging your baby down the street,’” Ehman said.

In a panic, Ehman said she called the bus compound.

“I asked her, ‘Is Allie alive?’ And she said, ‘Yes,’” Ehman said. “I said, ‘Is she going to be OK?’ She said, ‘I don’t know.’”

While her daughter was rushed to the hospital, JCPS drove Ehman to another bus compound instead. The frantic mother had to call a friend to take her to the ER.

“I got out of the car and they took me straight back to Allie, in a dark room,” Ehman said. “She was laying there in a neck brace, she was bandaged up, she was really shaken up.”

The suit also claims Sanders had a history of violating protocols, and ran a stop sign while the child was being dragged.

The story gained national attention last week when WAVE 3 News published video from inside the bus. The video shows the moment the child’s backpack got stuck between the closing doors, then struggling to free herself. The video also showed a student standing to the right of Sanders as she was driving, which attorneys said was another dangerous mistake. The driver didn’t stop the bus until another car’s horn was heard trying to get her attention.

The child suffered severe injuries to her leg, extensive nerve damage and severe PTSD, her attorney claims. They are injuries the 13-year-old still battles today, Ehman said. Her daughter can’t can’t wear jeans because of the pain caused by the material rubbing on her leg. She can’t wear shorts or skirts because questions about her scars trigger the trauma.

Ehman said loud noises, school buses on the road, the severe and constant itching on her leg are more added triggers of PTSD. Ehman said Allie’s had one surgery a year every year since, and has to go to therapy to be able to bend her knee.

She was designated as a student with special needs, but was placed on a school bus and a route that were not designated accordingly, the lawsuit states.

The suit claims Sanders had a history of violating protocols, and ran a stop sign while the child was being dragged.

During the hearing, Sanders admitted wrongdoing that day and apologized to Ehman, saying she wishes she could take it back.

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