SULTAN, Wash. — A school bus driver is being credited for rescuing a student who was kidnapped during a carjacking incident here last week, officials said.

The incident occurred on Jan. 28 at around 4:10 p.m. on the 35700 block of Mann Rd., according to a news release from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect, identified by KOMO News as Jessy Benjamin Rylah, 31, threw a motorist out of her vehicle and stole it while a 9-year-old student was still inside, the Sheriff’s Office reported. While driving, Rylah slowed the vehicle down and then ordered the student to “get out” and forced her out of the car.

Elsa Fox, a school bus driver for Sultan School District #311, saw the fourth-grade student getting out of the car and pulled her bus over, according to KOMO News. Fox told the news source that the student “waved [at] me with her hands” and that she had recognized the student after dropping her off at a nearby bus stop. Fox added that she was able to calm the student down before taking her home. The student was uninjured and reunited with her family, the Sheriff's Office reports.

On Friday, Sultan School District #311 said in a statement on its website that the district is thankful that the student is safe and that it is “especially grateful for the instincts and quick reactions” of Fox and the student. Fox has been driving with the district for 17 years, according to KOMO News.

The incident is currently under investigation, but deputies believe Rylah may know the motorist and the student involved. Rylah, who was taken to the Snohomish County Jail, faces several charges, including first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, vehicle prowling, and reckless endangerment, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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Sadiah Thompson

Sadiah Thompson

Assistant Editor

Sadiah Thompson is an assistant editor at School Bus Fleet magazine.

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