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Runaway School Bus Discovered, Driver Arrested

Aired January 24, 2002 - 15:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to bring you the latest update that we've got on this story of the missing school bus that we were following this afternoon. The school bus was in Oley Township, Pennsylvania and it disappeared en route to taking the kids to school at 9:00 this morning.

Well, the bus showed up just a matter of minutes ago in Landover Hills, Maryland and the driver has been arrested. Our Kathleen Koch has been out there for a little while at the scene and she joins us now on the phone with what she can see from her vantage point -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leon, what we see here in the parking lot is the school bus that these children made their roughly 150-mile journey in. Apparently driving the bus was the regular bus driver, a man named Otto Nuss, a man in his mid-60s and, by all accounts, very friendly, very thoughtful. And no one at this point knows why he did this.

What police tell us happened is that around 1:45 today, a graphic -- a person in the graphic artist department with the Prince George's County Police Department saw this bus driving down route 202 southbound near the Washington, D.C. Beltway. She thought it looked strange and apparently the children were waving their arms out the window. Then, she directed the police. She called a fax to Prince George's County Police and said I saw this bus. There is something odd going on.

And then the bus came on to Old Annapolis Road here in Landover and pulled into the parking lot of a Family Dollar store where there was a Prince George's County Police cruiser sitting here. And the man got off the bus. Mr. Nuss approached the patrol car and told the officer he wanted to give himself up, that he wanted to let the parents know that the children were fine, that everything was fine. The police officer took him into custody.

They found a weapon the bus. The man wasn't carrying it at the time. And the children apparently haven't said anything directly to authorities or at least nothing that authorities are sharing with us about whether or not they were threatened in any way. Police say all the children are in very good shape and are being taken to police headquarters right now -- Leon.

HARRIS: Yes, we understand that when they get there, they will be waiting for their parents who will be riding in another bus with Pennsylvania police down to pick them up. Kathleen, did they tell you anything more about the weapon, because we heard that it was shotgun but there was no word about whether or not it was actually loaded or if it was used to threaten anyone at all.

KOCH: Again, Leon, they are telling us that it was a weapon -- they described it to us as a rifle. They did not say whether or not it was loaded, but they said that they had no information that the children had been threatened in any way or harmed in any way. And they said that the children seemed very calm and it was only the man, the bus driver, who was a little bit nervous. But again, Leon, he is in police custody. The children on their way to police headquarters where they will be waiting for their, I'm sure, very frantic parents.

HARRIS: Yes. That driver has got a lot to be frantic about right about now. Kathleen Koch, thank you very much, appreciate that. We will let you get back to it and see -- if you get anything else, please make sure you contact us immediately.

And folks who are watching, we will deliver to you whatever Kathleen delivers to us as soon as we get word.

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