School bus driver escapes hijacker

first_img Andrews was arrested a few hours later about five miles from the rest stop. He had the driver’s checkbook in his possession, Schuh said. The driver’s name was not immediately released. Schuh said she was concerned about her safety. She told authorities the man threatened her, saying he knew where she lived because of the checkbook and would come after her if she fled. The driver was employed by First Student, a company that provides bus services to the Los Angeles Unified School District. A spokesman for First Student declined immediate comment, saying he was still gathering information about the incident. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COALINGA, Calif. – A Los Angeles school bus about to begin its morning run was hijacked from a parking yard early Wednesday by a man who forced the female driver to take him on a 200-mile journey into the Central Valley before she escaped unharmed, authorities said. No children were aboard the bus when the man approached the driver, whose name was withheld, about 4:50 a.m. at a yard in Gardena, about 13 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. Initial reports said the man was armed with a gun, but authorities said they recovered a plastic pistol when they arrested Christopher Lee Andrews, 29, of Los Angeles. Andrews was taken into custody at a highway off-ramp outside Coalinga, an agricultural area 60 miles southwest of Fresno, said Lt. Toby Rien of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department. Andrews was wanted for violating parole and was expected to be taken back to Los Angeles to be booked on new charges, Rien said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card After hijacking the bus, the man ordered the driver to head north on Interstate 5 to Bakersfield, authorities said. At one point, the driver, who missed the Highway 99 exit to Bakersfield, told the man she needed to pull over. “She told him, ‘Listen, I’m a diabetic. I need to eat. If I don’t eat I’m going to get sick,”‘ Rien said. The driver exited the freeway at a rest stop outside Coalinga, where she managed to take the keys to the bus with her, Rien said. The man then fled the bus, and the driver was able to call for help about 9:35 a.m. The driver, who was not injured, was not diabetic, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Schuh, who praised her quick thinking. “It got her out of the vehicle and away from him and in a public place, which is the most important thing,” Schuh said. last_img read more