Man Tries to Get Home in a Stolen School Bus
Brandon Peckinpaugh, 24, of Kentucky was desperate to get home after his friends left him behind. But, did he call a taxi or decide to Uber to escort him? Nope. Did he try to dial other friends or family? Far too logical. Maybe he was fresh out of pocket change. Who knows. In any case, Peckinpaugh thought it would be best to try to get home in a stolen school bus.
According to his arrest report, at around 1 a.m, Peckinpaugh broke into two vehicles, retrieving handguns. He then stole a school bus from the home of a driver in Blount County.
“Apparently the key was left on the bus,” Blount County Schools Superintendent Rodney Green said. “He got on the bus at night and we believe found the key and stole the bus. When the bus driver got up to check the bus, the bus was gone. She called it into law enforcement.”
Sometime later, the local police department received a call from a citizen following the bus in Birmingham as well, suspicious of its driver. “It wasn’t too long after that that they located the bus going down (Interstate) 65,” Green said. The caller was instructed to stop following it and allow officers to pick up the chase.
At around 7:40 a.m, Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian said his team came in contact with Peckinpaugh. Shortly after 8 a.m., they attempted to stop it, but Peckinpaugh refused to pull over and a high-speed chase ensued.
“He went through several cities,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joni Money said. “He had two guns with him. He did throw those out during the pursuit. He was driving erratically from what I understand. It was during rush hour. He was going through some of the busiest areas of town.”
The man led officers onto 1-459 and hit a state trooper’s vehicle. He then proceeded to try ramming into several others. Luckily, the bus was finally successfully stopped. He was taken into custody without further incident.
Authorities charged the man with five felonies, including first-degree theft of property, two counts of breaking and entering of a vehicle, and two counts of second-degree theft of property.
Alabama Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Daniels confirmed his agency will not pursue any further charges. “There were no injuries to the state trooper, and it was minor damage to the patrol car,” Daniels said. “We are not pursuing any additional charges above what Jefferson County is charging him with.”
Green said the school bus was not badly damaged. “We had a busted-out window and flat tire caused by road spikes. It wasn’t damaged that bad. We’ve already repaired it and drove it back to our bus shop for some further repairs. We’re just glad no one was hurt,” he said.
Peckinpaugh is being held on a $15,000 bond. He told officers he had gotten to a fight with his friends and they dropped him off in Alabama. He “was just trying to go to Florida”. Looks like Peckinpaugh should have driven the bus back to school. He was heading northbound when apprehended.