MOUNT VERNON — According to the Mount Vernon Police Department, a man who offered a middle school student a ride to the bus stop last Wednesday was simply trying to shelter the student from the cold.
The Mount Vernon Police Department made contact last week with the man suspected in offering the ride following a report that a student had been approached for a ride from a stranger when walking to the bus stop at East Elementary School.
The same vehicle was spotted near the school on Thursday morning when a vehicle license number was retrieved. MVPD officer Dave McElroy and two detectives responded Friday to the residence of a man in his 80s, who told law enforcement he had offered a ride to a child on Wednesday.
According to interim chief Capt. George Hartz, the man said he was “feeling compassionate because it was freezing cold and he didn’t want the kid to have to walk to school.”
Officers talked to the man about the complaint and explained how this situation looks to the public and that he should refrain from doing so again. The man insisted he was trying to be a good Samaritan.
“It looks bad on the surface because he was seen two or three days in the same week,” said Hartz. “But the fact that we talked to him on Friday, hopefully he doesn’t go back and do this anymore.”
Hartz added that the MVPD officers have been advised to patrol bus stops in the city and to be vigilant of situations like this.
Mount Vernon City School District staff have also been informed to keep any eye out for this type of incident.
“The school district has great concern in cases like this,” said Mount Vernon Schools superintendent William Seder. “I notified the building principals that this individual has been talked to. And I feel good that we were able to have contact and ascertain our level of concern. We’re going to continue monitor. We’ve told our kids not to take rides from strangers. We’ve identified this particular situation and can hopefully now move forward in a positive direction.”
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance with the incident.
Contact Alan ReedEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.