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Arrest made in case of man trying to use school bus as getaway car

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PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas man is now jailed after witnesses said he tried to use a school bus full of children as his getaway car.

Cedrick Brenard Lewis, age 30, faces six charges: aggravated kidnapping, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, public intoxication, disrupting activities private/public school, resisting arrest, and criminal mischief.

Lewis' bond has been set at $1,570,000.

This happened around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Timbercrest Apartment Complex in Palestine.

Jon Valentine is the maintenance supervisor for the apartment complex. He said he was escorting a man off the premise when the gentleman decided to jump on a school bus full of children. Valentine said if he had not been able to pull the man off the bus, he does not know what could have happened.

"His every intention was driving that school bus. He had it in drive, he was reaching for the air brakes. You know, there's no telling. I fear the worst as most parents would," Valentine said.

Valentine said when he saw the suspect walk on the bus, he did not hesitate to take control. 

"The kids were ecstatic, they were screaming, crying," Valentine explained. 

Valentine said the man put up a fight. 

"I got him in a choke hold and pulled him down," Valentine said.

"There were some bystanders, a couple of guys who were maintenance employees for the apartment complex and a corrections officer that was off duty, saw and heard what was going on and they all went to the aid of the bus driver. Between the four adults they were able to pull the man off the bus and take the suspect down to the ground, after struggling with him. And they held him down until police got there," said Sergeant James Muniz with the Palestine Police Department. 

"I think with the training of the bus driver and his quick reaction, the assistance from the other citizens that were there, it turned out as well as it could have," said Sgt. Muniz. 

Police are not releasing the name of the suspect, but said he is a 30-year-old male. Valentine said the man is no stranger to Timbercrest's management. 

"We already have a sustainable criminal trespassing warrant against the subject that was issued two weeks ago; that is still in effect. We will probably receive some type of restraining order or something to block him from ever getting close to these kids again," Valentine said. 

Sgt. Muniz said the suspect is charged with attempted aggravated kidnapping, a second degree felony. If convicted, the suspect could face up to 20 years in prison.

The police department said there were about 10 to 15 students on the bus at the time of the incident. Sgt. Muniz said all of those children were put on another bus and safely taken to school.

Palestine Independent School District released this statement, "Palestine ISD is grateful to the bus driver and the apartment managers for their efforts in subduing the perpetrator and keeping students safe."

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