Officers arrested a Pea Ridge man Wednesday after they say he illegally entered a school bus and confronted a pre-teen boy about stealing money from his daughter.
Lance Ferguson was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault, unauthorized entry of a school bus and false imprisonment. All potential charges are misdemeanors. He was released Wednesday morning from the Benton County Jail on $995 bond, according to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect told 5NEWS the incident was blown out of proportion, and he was just trying to stop the boy from stealing nickels and dimes from his daughter.
"I think it's ridiculous. I only took a couple of steps up there, looked over the railing and asked the boy for his phone number," Ferguson said. "Next thing I know, I'm being handcuffed in front of my children."
The driver of school bus #23 reported that on Oct. 24, Ferguson entered his bus without permission and started talking to a 12-year-old boy from the front of the bus. The boy left his seat and is seen on video talking back to Ferguson, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Benton County District Court.
The driver was unable to continue his route during the exchange, and the children were, in effect, held against their will for three minutes during the conversation, according to the probable cause affidavit. Ferguson ended up leaving, and the bus continued its route, the report states.
There were 12 students and one driver on the bus at the time.
Pea Ridge Police Chief Tim Ledbetter said Ferguson should have taken other measures to solve the problem between the boy and his daughter.
"Proper chains were not followed. The behavior demonstrated was not acceptable in today's society," Ledbetter said.
The school district’s transportation director contacted Pea Ridge police and reported the incident. After detectives talked to witnesses and viewed video, an arrest warrant was issued for Ferguson. The suspect was later located and arrested.