DHS: Daycare van had alarm system, should have been able to prevent boy's death

DHS: Daycare van had alarm system, should have been able to prevent boy's death

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A five-year-old boy died after being left inside a van on Monday. FOX13 has learned that van had a security alarm system in place, which aimed to prevent a tragedy like this from happening.

That's according to the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

The details around that alarm system are still being investigated.

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Chief investigative reporter, Jim Spiewak, pressed DHS all day for answers.

The state last inspected these vans in February, and at the time all alarms were working. There are two different state investigations here. One over the licensing and one over transportation.

DHS investigators at the ascent daycare on Tuesday had few specifics to offer up as to how the 5-year-old Christopher Gardner Jr. was left in a van for more than 8 hours.

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"At this point we're just starting this investigation, and I'm really not allowed to have comments at this point other then we're gathering information," said one investigator on scene.

A DHS spokesperson told FOX13 over the the van Gardner died in did have an alarm that state law requires the bus driver to walk to the back to turn it off which in theory ensures they double check all kids are off the bus.

The DHS spokesperson said they're still investigating if that alarm was working on Monday. The state is investigating the licensing of the daycare and the transportation by the day care.

DHS has ordered that the van not be used, and that both the driver and attendant on the van yesterday not be allowed to work.

DHS is asking all drivers go through reeducation training. DHS is working closely with local law-enforcement who has the lead on the investigation.

Additional personnel action may be taken. West Memphis Police Department did not return multiple requests from FOX13 for an incident report on Tuesday.