Police: Boy, 11, says stranger in van approached him at bus stop

Kelly Middle School (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - A man in a van waved for an 11-year-old boy to come to him as the student waited for the school bus Friday morning, police and school officials said.

"The boy did not approach the stranger," Kelly Middle School Principal Juan Cuadros said in an email to parents. "He ran home to tell an adult and the man drove away."

Eugene Police said the incident happened around 8:20 a.m. as the boy waited for the bus near W. 4th Avenue and Madison Street.

The suspect is a white male in his late 30s with black short hair and a goatee. He was wearing a multi-colored head band. He was driving a blue and silver van.

Anyone with tips in the case is asked to call (541) 682-5111, police said.

"This incident is a good reminder to review safety practices with your children," the principal wrote to parents. "I encourage you to talk with your children about being mindful of their personal safety, and remind them to always be aware of their surroundings, do not engage with strangers, and inform an adult immediately if there is someone acting unsafely or trying to get your child to go with them."

Police offered these personal safety tips for both children and adults

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
  • Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
  • Don’t let strangers into your ‘space.’ Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
  • Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
  • If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 9-1-1
  • If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
  • Use the buddy system when walking after dark or in ‘fringe’ areas, which are places there are fewer people travelling, allowing them a chance to victimize you without chancing witnesses. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
  • Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves.
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