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Alabama School Bus Hostage Situation: Man Fatally Shoots Driver, Kidnaps 6-Year-Old Passenger

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. -- An unidentified man boarded a school bus, shot the driver several times, then escaped with a 6-year-old passenger, prompting an hourslong standoff with police that remained unresolved early Wednesday.

The Dale County Sheriff told WBMA-TV ( that the man shot the driver in Midland City on Tuesday after he refused to let the child off the bus. The driver later died of his wounds. His identity wasn't released.

The shooter took the child to an area behind a nearby church, and police were negotiating with him, authorities said.

Midland City police would not comment, and a call to the Dale City Sheriff's office was not answered Tuesday.

Authorities from multiple agencies were on the scene and nearby residents were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure, said Rachel David, a spokeswoman for the police department in the nearby town of Dothan.

"Authorities also confirmed the presence of a child at the scene but are giving no further information at this time," David said in a news release late Tuesday.

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:19 AM
Replies (31-40):
by Platinum Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Oh he is not the father. Makes it even worst. I am really scared for the child's life :(
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by Platinum Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM
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by Bronze Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

This is terrible. I cannot imagine what the parents are going through..

by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM

ANy updates today?

by Gold Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Poor baby! I pray he gets out safely

by Platinum Member on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:47 PM

12:00 pm UPDATE – Dale County Schools will be closed for the rest of the week. District officials made the decision out of respect of the kidnapped little boy and bus driver Charles Poland. The 66-year-old school employee is being hailed as a hero for giving his own life to protect the 21 children on the Alabama school bus, the Dothan Eagle notes.

Poland had been a full-time bus driver for Dale County Schools for four years. Prior to become a permanent staffer, the Alabama senior citizen had been a substitute driver in the district.


A statement from Dale County Schools Superintendent Donny Bynum reads:

“Mr. Poland was well-loved by all of us here at Dale County Schools. He was a valuable member of our transportation department, and we will forever remember him for the bravery he showed yesterday. Now our thoughts and efforts are with our children. Their well-being is our number one concern. The authorities, the Midland City Police Department, the Dale County Sherriff’s Department, ABI, FBI, Homeland Security, and other surrounding city and county agencies, responded immediately to this situation and are doing everything within their powers to see to the safe release of this six-year-old kindergarten student.”

10:30 am UPDATE – The Midland City school bus driver killed during the kidnapping has been identified as Charles Albert Polard, Jr. The Alabama school bus driver was 66, according to the Dothan Eagle.

Alabama school bus kidnapping witness Michael Creel had this to say about chasing the alleged suspect, Jimmy Lee Dykes:

“He’s 67 years old, so I figured I could catch him. Apparently he didn’t go through the field like I thought. He’s got a four-foot-wide, about six-foot-long, eight-foot-deep homemade bomb shelter. It’s got about three to four feet of sand on top of it. If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t notice it.”

James Edward Davis, Jr., who is reportedly a neighbor of the alleged kidnapping suspect, supposedly had an altercation with the accused gunman in December. Davis stated that Dykes pulled a gun on him and his daughter after a dispute. Dykes allegedly believed that Davis had driven through his backyard.

9:30 am UPDATE – Jimmy Lee Dykes was allegedly due in court today to answer the charges filed against him in December. Although law enforcement officers have yet to confirm whether or not there is a relationship between the alleged kidnapper and the child, witnesses indicate they were complete strangers. The Alabama school bus driver killed during the kidnapping is being hailed as a hero for attempting to thwart the hostage taker. Students on the bus noted during meetings with the press that the kidnapper told the driver to give him a child, and the man refused.

8:10 am UPDATE – The Alabama school bus driver was allegedly shot four times by Jimmy Lee Dykes, LA Late reports. The driver’s foot was reportedly on the bus pedal when he was shot, sending the vehicle rolling backwards with students still on board, the Dothan Eagle notes. Dykes was allegedly arrested and charged with menacing in late December.

8 am UPDATE – The Alabama school bus kidnapping suspect has been identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes. The man who is hunkered down inside a bunker with a little boy is a military veteran in his 60s, according to ABC News. The kidnapped boy and the bus driver remain unidentified. Law enforcement officers on the scene reportedly remain in communication with the kidnapper and referred to the situation as “sensitive.”

Midland City, AL – A 6-year-old boy was kidnapped from a school bus and held hostage in underground bunker. The incident began on Tuesday afternoon when an armed man shot the Alabama school bus driver and took the child. Police officers were still negotiating with the kidnapper for the boy’s release on Wednesday morning.

Late Tuesday night, Dale County Sheriff’s Department officials and officers from assisting agencies made contact with the hostage taker. The communication occurred via a pipe the gunman had attached to his underground bunker. The victim is reportedly unharmed, ABC News reports.

The Alabama school bus driver died as the result of his gunshot wounds. Students who were also on the bus stated that the man came aboard and said he needed a “kid” because the “law” was after him. After shooting the bus driver, the vehicle rolled off the road, and the students ran to a nearby house for help, according to Fox News.

A minister whose church is near the bus stop where the kidnapping occurred spoke with the children who hid behind his building after the gunman left. One of the students reportedly told Minister Michael Senn that he knew the kidnapped boy well.

Senn had this to say after the Alabama school bus kidnapping:

“I spoke with a young guy, 13-years-old, that was really traumatized. The boy, who is really good friends with the hostage, witnessed the entire incident. I talked with him and ministered with him and prayed with him before he left.”

Another student told school bus stop neighbor Mike Creel that the kidnapper initially attempted to take two children. Creel reportedly chased the Alabama kidnapper but was unable to keep up. Creel referred to the kidnapper as a neighbor, WSFA News reports.

If witness statements are accurate, the gunman was only able to take one hostage because the kidnapped boy fainted during the incident and was quickly removed from the bus.

Alabama police officers have not released any details about the hostage taker or the bus driver’s name. The hostage taker has allegedly lived in the neighborhood for two years. If Creel’s comments are accurate, the man began building the underground bomb shelter not long after moving in.


by "Dude!" on Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:50 PM
What the fraggle rock is wrong with people targeting children? This is horrifying.
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by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM

 That's what I was thinking. it might be a custody dispute that went haywire and the guy was determined to take his son off the bus. As happens too often, he just "happened to have a gun" with him in case he needed to use force. Ugh.In any case, the guy needs to be put in jail and the boy taken safely away. The poor little kid will be emotionally damaged by this.

Quoting annabl1970:


Maybe the man is his father?

Quoting soonergirl980:


I'm not a big on religon but if that child is in danger I pray God protects him/her.

Quoting annabl1970:


I think so

Quoting soonergirl980:

I'm sorry is this an ongoing standoff?








by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM
1 mom liked this

 Ahh, never mind about my previous post. It appears the boy was not related to the kidnapper. This guy is insane, obviously, building an underground bomb shelter and wanting to kidnap kids. I am afraid for this little boy.

by Ruby Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:04 AM

I havent heard. 

Quoting annabl1970:

Any updates?

Quoting muslimahpj:

I caught a glimpse of this on the news tonight. So sad. I wouldnt be surprised if the man is a family member. 

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