EXCLUSIVE: School driver leaves girl in van outside Houston hotel

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A little girl who was supposed to be at school found herself in a fight for survival instead. (KTRK)

A mother is still shaken after her 7-year-old daughter was stuck, left inside of a hot shuttle for 35 minutes that was supposed to take her to school.

Deputies said it happened on Monday.

The mother said she dropped her daughter off at the operator's home of Cypresswood Kids Shuttle, a private transportation company. They were supposed to take her and other children to school.

However, around 8:07 a.m., video surveillance shows the driver of the shuttle pull into a hotel off of I-45 and FM 1960. He gets out and walks inside, with the girl still in the shuttle.

Thirty-five minutes later, you see the little girl get out and walk to FM 1960. Her mother said she managed to push a window down and climb out.

SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Little girl escapes from locked van on FM 1960
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Surveillance video shows the scary situation unfold as a 7-year-old girl escapes from a shuttle van outside the hotel.

All the while, a frantic search for her was underway when her mom realized she never made it to school.

"I was frantic looking at that video footage and then I realized my child never got off the bus," said her mother.

As the 7-year-old was walking down FM 1960, China Colbert was driving by.

"She was crying, it didn't look right. It didn't look like something I should just pass up and let go. So I decided to turn around," said Colbert.

Colbert contacted deputies. Fortunately, the 7-year-old girl was not hurt.

As for the alleged driver of the shuttle, David Preston, he's charged with child endangerment. He told deputies he didn't know a child was still inside the shuttle. Preston has a criminal record, including assault charges.

We visited the owner of the school shuttle company to ask her about the incident and Preston.

"Mr. Preston has been dealt with and I just want to put that behind me," said Keyona Raven, the operator of the shuttle company.

As for the girl's mother, she's grateful Colbert was there and grateful her daughter is safe.

She said she researched the owner of the company and the owner did not have a record. The mother said it was her understanding that the owner would be the driver of the shuttle, not someone else.

"It's just the awareness it can happen to your child too, be familiar," she said.

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