Police: Knife-wielding man arrested, children OK after Arkansas bus hijacking

Posted at 5:56 PM, Oct 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-17 17:56:08-04

(CNN) — A man with a knife hijacked a school bus in central Arkansas on Thursday morning, taking 11 elementary school students and their driver on a detour that police ended after a roughly 10-mile chase, authorities said.

Nicholas John Miller, 22, was arrested after the incident, which began in Jacksonville — about 12 miles northeast of Little Rock — and ended in nearby Cabot, Jacksonville Police Capt. Kenny Boyd said.

No one — including the 11 students of Pinewood Elementary School in Jacksonville and the bus driver — was injured, Boyd said.

The incident began with Miller allegedly demanding a car from a woman in Jacksonville, Boyd said. But she “did not have one to give,” Jacksonville police added in a news release.

The bus had stopped nearby, and Miller left the woman, boarded the bus and, armed with the knife, took over the driver’s seat, Jacksonville police said.

The woman called police, who eventually found the bus and pursued it north to Cabot.

A cell phone video of the chase, recorded by 17-year-old onlooker Kelsey Eggers and provided to CNN, shows a bus moving along a two-lane road pursued by 10 police cars with flashing lights.

Police stopped the bus roughly 20 minutes after the hijacking began, according to Boyd.

“We were able to get the bus stopped. The suspect was taken into custody, and nobody was injured,” he said.

According to an arrest report, Miller told authorities that people were after him and that he needed to take the bus to save his life. He said he had no plans to hurt any of the children or the driver.

An office worker who answered the phone at the school Thursday morning said parents were being notified.

Miller was being charged Thursday with a felony count of vehicle piracy, 12 felony counts of kidnapping, and two felony counts of aggravated assault, Jacksonville police spokeswoman April Kiser said.

The incident was not his first brush with the law this year. In May, according to a police report, Miller was arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering a vehicle, and stealing a shotgun and money. He was sentenced in September to 24 months of probation.

Miller’s grandmother, Elsie Miller, said she didn’t know why he would have hijacked a bus, and she hadn’t had a chance to speak with him since his arrest Thursday.

She said her grandson lives in Jacksonville.

“He has a good heart. I am totally surprised,” she said.