A Garland Independent School District bus driver sprang to action one May morning when she noticed a strange car following one of her students.
Reva, who did not wish to provide reporters with her full name, explained to NBC 5 that she was doing her usual rounds picking up Garland ISD middle schoolers on May 18 when she noticed something unsettling.
“My gut feeling was telling me something was not right,” Reva told NBC 5. “This guy was hanging out all the way out his car window trying to get her attention. And whatever he was saying to her, frightened her.”
A man, later identified by police as Jonathan Haung Trinh, was driving his car near one of Reva’s female students. Reva pulled up to the student, who quickly boarded.
“[The man] gave me a real mean look, and he pulled off,” Reva said.
The student told Reva that Trinh had been telling her “some weird stuff” and Reva reassured her that she was safe. Reva then maneuvered the bus to catch Trinh’s plate in order to report the encounter to the authorities.
A study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that 62% of attempted child abductions occurred in the street, and in 67% of the cases, the suspect was driving a vehicle.
According to the Texas Center for the Missing, of the 47,670 missing persons reports filed in 2022, 34,828 were minors.
Tim Logan, safety and training manager at Garland ISD’s transportation department, applauded Reva’s actions.
“We transport over 14,000 students a day. But we’re especially proud of Ms. Reva and the actions and precautions that she took to help this student avoid a possibly very dangerous situation,” said Logan, according to NBC 5.
Logan noted that such incidents highlight the need for protocols and training to handle these situations.
While Garland ISD officials later alleged that Trinh was trying to lure the teen into his car, he does not currently face charges in relation to the incident.
Instead, officers with the Garland Police Department arrested Trinh on an outstanding warrant out of Richardson issued the day before. He faces a charge of indecent assault after allegedly groping a woman in a coffee shop. His bond was set at $25,000.
“I’m happy that they got him. Because who knows if he could have done something to somebody else again. And we stopped him,” Reva told NBC 5.
Crimes against children are a growing problem in North Texas.
As The Dallas Express has covered, allegations ranging from having improper relationships with children to possessing child pornography have swirled around several educators and coaches of late. Such problems have recently become prevalent at Dallas ISD, where at least two educators have been charged with having an improper relationship with a student.
Additionally, a Dallas ISD employee was recently arrested for allegedly punching a student in the face.