Guardian ad litem appointed to represent boy left on school bus

David Yates Jan. 11, 2011, 4:40am

Believing that a "possible conflict of interest" exists, a local judge has removed a young boy's grandmother as guardian ad litem and replaced her with Beaumont attorney Clint Brasher.

Claiming her 4-year-old grandson fears going to school after a bus driver left him stranded on the bus for more than three hours, Sharon Hill filed a lawsuit on behalf of her grandson, Derrick Zachery Jr., against the Beaumont Independent School District on Nov. 12, 2009, in Jefferson County District Court.

In her suit, Hill claims a BISD bus picked up her grandson from his home on Jan. 13, 2009, and failed to drop him off at Southerland Headstart School. Zachery remained on the bus even after the driver returned it to the bus yard.

"The driver left the bus without checking to see if he left any children on the bus," the suit states. "Plaintiff was left unattended and alone, still buckled in, on the bus for some three-and-a-half hours."

On Oct. 27, Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, ordered that "the honorable Clint Brasher be appointed guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the minor plaintiff Zachery."

The order states that a "possible conflict of interest exists" between the boy and his grandmother. However, the order does not state the nature of the conflict.

A guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to represent the interests of a person with respect to a single action in litigation.

The plaintiff also claims no one at Southerland School called Hill to inform her of her grandson's absence, the complaint says.

Hill claims that because of the incident, Zachery suffered severe physical and mental pain, court papers say.

In addition, he also suffers from nightmares, does not want to attend school and does not want to be separated from his grandmother.

Court papers show Hill blames BISD because its driver failed to ensure that all children were off the bus, failed to properly account for all children on the bus, failed to inspect the school bus after all children had exited it, failed to adequately maintain cameras on the bus, failed to comply with standards and failed to properly provide safety for passengers.

Brian D. Sutton, Joseph N. Jannise Jr. and Stephanie H. Harris of Sutton and Jacobs in Beaumont represent Hill.

Case No. A185-324

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