A frightening experience for school children on a Palestine Independent School District bus ended with the quick thinking of a bus driver and citizens who removed a man attempting to steal the bus.
Suzanne Iven, the district’s assistant superintendent, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph the incident happened at the Timbercrest Apartments at 1020 Sugar Lane this morning.
Ms. Iven said at the bus stop at the complex, two students were arguing so the first-year bus driver, Sam Butler, took them to different areas of the bus to separate them.
“As he was doing this, he heard kids screaming and turned to see a man on the bus attempting to drive away,” she said.
Ms. Iven said the man was pushing on the accelerator, but the bus was in park and did not go anywhere.
“The bus driver ran up and grabbed the man around the neck and began trying to pull him out of the seat. Several onlookers were watching and they ran to help and they finally got him off the bus and someone sat on him until police arrived,” she said.
Ms. Iven said the apartment management had already called police on the individual because he was causing problems at the complex and would not leave.
“We are just thankful no one was hurt. I think our driver was obviously thinking of the safety of the children and he took the appropriate actions. We also are thankful for the people that got on the bus and got involved to help subdue the man,” she said.
It is not yet clear why the man got on the bus. Tyler Paper is continuing to follow this story and will bring more information as it becomes available.