Caregiver says special needs man left alone on disabled bus - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Caregiver says special needs man left alone on disabled bus

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WARWICK, R.I. -

The caregiver of a mentally challenged man told NBC 10 on Friday that he was left on an abandoned bus in a parking lot for seven hours.

"As I understand it, it was probably seven-and-a-half hours he was left alone, in the bus, drenched in urine, no food, no water, and completely helpless," said Carolyn Young, sister of 61-year-old Tom Fulmer.

Young, who is Fulmer's primary caregiver, said that a RIde Program bus arrived at their Warwick home at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. She says it made its stop at the Trudeau Center where Fulmer spends his days, but that he did not get off the bus with the rest of the riders. The driver didn't notice and he left the Trudeau Center.

Young said the bus later broke down, and the driver left it in a parking lot and left. It wasn't until 4:30 p.m. when RIPTA came to retrieve the bus that someone noticed Fulmer.

"(The buses) are not that big. They only go back like six rows. How can you misplace a person?" Young said.

The Trudeau Center didn't comment on the incident, but Young said she has no reservations about sending him there.

However, she hasn't heard anything from RIde or the driver.

According to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's website, the RIde Program is a service that provides transportation for individuals with disabilities and seniors based on the eligibility requirements of several state programs.

Young said even though her brother's illness is severe, it was his extremely calm demeanor that allowed him to make it through the situation.

"His blood pressure could have gone up. He's diabetic. He could've gone into diabetic shock," she said.

Fulmer was taken to a hospital for evaluation but was since released.

He's returned to the Trudeau Center, but Young won't let him board a RIde vehicle.

"I'd like to know why they haven't reached out to us to explain how this happened to inquire about my brother's health," she said.

A RIde representative confirmed the incident to NBC 10 and said the driver has not been back to work since Monday. The representative said a letter of apology was sent to Young on Tuesday.

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