Family has unanswered questions following an incident on TARPS bus

Son with Down syndrome was left on bus by himself on August 13
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 10:16 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - On August 13, 25-year-old Steve Chirgott took one of TARTA’s paratransit busses from his home in Sylvania and was supposed to be dropped off at Lott Industries where he worked. That did not happen.

In fact, Chirgott remained on the bus for six hours, and for approximately two hours he was left alone on the bus in the TARPS garage. Chirgott then called his mother Kay and she came to pick him up. He was safe, but Kay has many questions that she says have gone unanswered by TARTA.

“[Steve] will not be taking TARPS anymore,” Kay said.

When asked what would have to happen for her to feel comfortable to put him back on a TARPS bus Kay said, “I don’t know at this time.”

In order to bring more attention to this incident, Steve’s friends decided to show him support. The I-Dance group performed in the TARPS location parking lot Tuesday. Several TARTA employees, including CEO Kim Dunham watched on.

Kay said, “I have dotted all my I’s and crossed all my T’s but there is a brick wall between TARTA and me. We have gotten no information. They will not tell us anything. I don’t know why. I would like to know.”

Kay was told by TARTA that the driver who left Steve on the bus has been fired, but she wants to make sure there are protocols in place so this doesn’t happen again to anyone else.

“We do have the latest technology on our TARPS vehicles so we have constant communication with the drivers and the station office. We do know how many passengers are getting on and off, and we want the community to have that level of trust and assurance with us,” TARTA Communications Officer Laura Koprowski said.

Exactly two months after the incident, the Chirgott family said they do not have that trust in TARTA.

TARTA said they have conducted additional training with their drivers since the incident.

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