Student safe after jumping out of HISD special needs school bus on Eastex Fwy

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Saturday, August 27, 2016
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Special needs teen safe after jumping off HISD school bus, Elissa Rivas reports.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A teen who jumped from a moving school bus on the lanes of a busy freeway crossed downtown Houston and was found nearly an hour later, walking on another freeway in traffic.

Officials said the student jumped out of the bus on the Eastex Freeway at Franklin, near the George R. Brown Convention Center at about 8:20am. It's not clear how fast the bus may have been moving at the time. It was thought the boy had jumped off the freeway, but that turned out to not be the case.

Houston ISD says six students were riding on the bus, safety belts on, with an aide and nurse. The 14-year-old was in the first seat, unstrapped himself, and quickly went to the front, pushing the door open. The driver and aide tried to follow the boy, while the nurse stayed with the students.

PHOTOS: Special needs student jumps off bus near Downtown Houston

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Nearly an hour later, a police officer spotted the boy walking along I-45 near Dallas.

The teen didn't appear to be hurt, but he was taken by ambulance to a hospital to be checked out.

The school bus driver was emotional as she was reunited with the boy. His parents have been notified and are in communication with police. They will be reunited with him at the hospital.

VIDEO: Emotional reunion between bus driver, special needs student

HPD Sgt. Hill told Eyewitness News, "We had expanded the search because a witness says they saw him running quickly toward UH Downtown."

An HPD officer familiar with the case spotted the boy walking amid traffic along I-45 near the Dallas exit. He recognized the boy from his description.

"He seemed very scared, but he was safe," said the officer who spotted the boy. "He wasn't really talking a whole lot but we got him in the car."

VIDEO: Bus driver speaks with police after student goes missing on Eastex Freeway

Police say the boy covered a lot of ground in the hour or so that he was missing, crossing to the other side of downtown.

The 14-year-old boy's name has not been released.

We do not yet know why the student jumped out of the bus. The school bus driver was interviewed by police before taking the rest of the students on the bus to Avondale House. Counselors will be made available for them.