‘Just get off’: Incessant kindergarten questions halted school bus hijack, driver says

‘He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind’

Louise Hall
Saturday 22 May 2021 09:03 BST
Kids annoyed bus hijacker so much with questions that he forced them off vehicle, driver says

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A man who hijacked a school bus became so annoyed by the children on the vehicle asking him questions that he ordered them all off and drove away on his own, according to the bus driver.

On 6 May, a man with a rifle boarded a bus on its way to an elementary school in Columbia, South Carolina, with 18 children and their driver on board, reports said.

The vehicle’s driver, Kenneth Corbin, told Good Morning America (GMA) this week that the gunman hijacked the bus and ordered him to drive 15 miles to the next town.

“As we were travelling, I guess he realised there were several students on the bus – kind of scattered throughout,” Mr Corbin told GMA.

“He decided to move all the students up front so he could keep us all in close proximity, and when he did that, especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking questions.”

According to the driver, the inquisitive children asked the man if he was a soldier, why he had taken the bus, and if he was going to hurt them or the driver.

“He said, ‘no. I’m going to put you off the bus,’” Mr Corbin recalled.

The driver explained that the man became so annoyed with the kids asking questions that he scrapped his original plan and chucked everyone on the bus off early.

“At the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective was to get to the next town,” Mr Corbin said.

He added: “But I think we were only on the road about four miles and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and get off. All y’all get off now.

“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘enough is enough already,’ and he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off.”

Mr Corbin, who described the children as “precious cargo”, said he “pretty much just had to just do whatever” to make sure he got the children “off the bus safe and sound”.

He added: “It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”

Not long after the incident 23-year-old Fort Jackson recruit Jovan Collazo was spotted by deputies and arrested. He was charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, and other offences.

The suspect was an Army trainee in his third week of basic training and did not have ammunition in his weapon, and seemed to be trying to make his way back home, Fort Jackson Commanding Brigade General Milford H Beagle Jr said.

According to authorities, Mr Collazo has tried to escape from custody twice since his arrest. Fielding Pringle, Mr Collazo’s defence attorney has said Mr Collazo was not trying to escape during the incident which occurred while he was handcuffed, on suicide watch, and unclothed.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Mr Collazo broke his ankle during the incident and was taken to hospital, from which he allegedly also tried to escape.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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