HOUSTON – The family of a boy who died after being left in a day care bus last month filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the facility for more than $1 million.
Investigators said 3-year-old Raymond “RJ” Pryer was found unconscious July 19 in a Discovering Me Academy bus after a field trip to Doss Park. Investigators said the child was left in the bus for more than four hours, and died at a hospital after paramedics treated him for heat exhaustion.
“I would never have believed anything like this would happen to my child,” said Raymond Pryer, RJ’s father, at a press conference today.
“He was my miracle child,” said Dikeisha Whitlock-Pryer, RJ's mother, who also spoke out at a press conference. “I'm 41. He's 45. It's my first and only child.”
An attorney representing Raymond’s parents said the lawsuit is meant to send a message to day cares and parents that those who care for children should be held accountable for their safety.
The mother and father of Raymond Pryer Jr. the little boy who died in a daycare van after a class trip at Discovering Me Acadmey in NW Houston filed a wrongful death lawsuit. They want to keep this from happening again. Head to https://t.co/P0iT5eqkC4 for more info. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/hsUSdCJLZL— Sofía Ojeda (@KPRC2SofiaOjeda) August 14, 2018
“If the day care had followed its own procedures, this never would have happened,” said Larry Wilson of the Lanier Law Firm.
“This is so hard. I don’t want anyone to feel like we are feeling right now,” the boy’s father said. “I’m destroyed inside.”
The boy’s parents said technology, training and awareness are the keys to preventing similar deaths in the future.
“I think they need to count, recount, double check and triple check,” Raymond Pryer said. “Maybe some sensors on your buses or some cameras.”
“Making sure the staff knows exactly the routine,” said RJ’s mother.
Discovering Me Academy declined to comment on the lawsuit and the Pryers' comments.
RJ's parents want to make sure that no other family suffers from the kind of tragedy that claimed the life of their child.
“We can never get our son back, but we can help the next kid and so on and so on,” said Dikeisha Whitlock-Pryer.
Prosecutors said a grand jury will ultimately decide whether criminal charges will be filed in the case.