Charles Albert “Chuck” Poland, Jr
Birth: July 16, 1946
Death: January 29, 2013
Mr. Charles “Chuck” Albert Poland, Jr. of Newton went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 performing a heroic deed while driving a school bus. He was 66.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 3, in the Ozark Civic Center with Rev. Ray Layton and Rev. Charles Littlefield officiating and with Dale County Superintendent of Education, Donny Bynum, delivering the eulogy. Burial will follow in Newton City Cemetery with Sorrells Funeral Home of Slocomb directing. Flowers will be accepted or contributions may be made to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Road 2nd Fl, Princeton, NJ 08540.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Mr. Poland was born on July 16, 1946 in Payette, ID to Mildred Poland and the late Charles “Bert” Poland, Sr. He was a beloved husband, father and “Paw-Paw”! A selfless man whose life exemplified the Lord he served, made the ultimate sacrifice by saving the lives of the children he loved. They, like so many others, will always remember him as a brave hero who did not flinch in the face of adversity.
Survivors include his loving wife of 43 years, one daughter and son-in-law, one son and daughter-in-law, grandsons, mother, two sisters, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, several nieces and nephews; and other extended family and friends.
Sorrells Funeral Home
Lance Griffin – Jan 29, 2013
Bus driver shot, child taken hostage in Midland City
MIDLAND CITY— Law enforcement personnel continue to watch over the scene this morning near Destiny Church where Jimmy Lee Dykes continue to hold a young child hostage in a bunker at his home.
Law enforcement agencies from throughout the Wiregrass converged on a small dirt road here Tuesday after a gunman shot and killed school bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, and abducted a young child.
Around 3:30 p.m., a man identified by neighbors as 67-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes allegedly boarded a Dale County school bus as it made a stop on Private Road 1539 in Midland City and shot Poland before leaving with a 5- or 6-year-old child.
Witnesses and neighbors said Dykes fled into a homemade bunker located on his property. It was not clarified whether Dykes had taken the child into the shelter with him.
Olson said the situation, which he wouldn’t confirm as a hostage situation, was ongoing late Tuesday night, adding that he believed the child was unharmed at the time but that the situation was unlikely to conclude quickly.
Michael Creel, Dykes’ neighbor on Private Road 1539, said he went outside after his sister heard gunshots.
“Me and her started running down the road,” Creel said. “That’s when I realized the bus had its siren going off. Kids were filing out, running down the hill toward the church.”
Creel said he attempted to chase the shooter down once someone told him the direction Dykes had headed.
“He’s 67 years old, so I figured I could catch him,” Creel said. “Apparently he didn’t go through the field like I thought. He’s got a four-foot-wide, about six-foot-long, eight-foot-deep homemade bomb shelter. It’s got about three to four feet of sand on top of it. If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t (notice it).”
Carol Shepard said her daughter, who was on the bus at the time, identified the man as “Mr. Jimmy,” their next-door neighbor.
“All we know is he shot the bus driver and took a 6-year-old child,” Shepard said.
Neighbors said Creel didn’t appear to know the child he took from the bus and has no children of his own.
“I talked to a girl that was riding the bus, and she told me that he came on the bus and said, ‘I need two kids between the ages of 6 and 8,’” Creel said. “The driver told him, ‘I can’t do that.’ (The driver) tried to get away from the guy.”
Dykes was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a bench trial on a menacing charge.
James Edward Davis Jr., who lives near Dykes on Private Road 1539, told the Dothan Eagle that Dykes pulled a gun on him and his daughter on Dec. 10 after Dykes believed Davis had driven in Dykes’ yard. Davis said he reported Dykes to the Dale County Sheriff’s Department. Dykes was arrested Dec. 22 and charged with menacing.
Davis said Dykes has lived at a residence on Private Road 1539 for about a year. He said Dykes constructed a “bunker” behind the residence with a PVC pipe leading to the back end of the residence.
“It’s the craziest thing. He will be outside in his yard digging dirt at 2:30 in the morning,” Davis Jr. told the Eagle .
Creel backed Davis Jr.’s description of Dykes.
“He’s the type that thinks the government’s out to get him,” said Creel, who also said Dykes is a Vietnam veteran. “He’s not right in the head.”
Dothan Police Sgt. Rachel David said authorities conducted evacuations of the nearby area soon after arriving.
Private Road 1539 is located near Destiny Church just off US 231.
After the shooting, emergency personnel gathered children at the church, which is located at the entrance of the dirt road.
Several crying children were escorted from the scene by parents.
Both sides of US 231 were shut down for much of the evening, but were reopened late Tuesday.
All Dale County and Ozark City Schools will be closed Wednesday.
Source: View DothanEagle.com Article
News Staff – Feb 6, 2013
Jimmy Lee Dykes Dead: 5-Year-Old Hostage Rescued In Alabama Standoff
The standoff between law enforcement and an Alabama man who held a boy in a bunker for seven days ended with the suspect dead and the 5-year-old safely rescued.
Reports of an explosion at Jimmy Lee Dykes‘ Midland City property came first on Monday afternoon, followed by media reports of the 65-year-old’s death.
At a hastily organized roadside press conference near the crime scene, FBI agent Steve Richardson said negotiations had deteriorated over the last 24 hours. He said they entered the bunker shortly after 3 p.m. fearing the child was “in imminent danger,” because they’d seen Dykes carrying a firearm.
The boy, identified only as Ethan, was transported to a hospital, state Rep. Steve Clouse told CNN. He appeared physically unharmed, according to reports.
Witnesses said they heard a boom and gunfire. Ambulances arrived soon afterward.
The crisis began Jan. 29 when authorities say Dykes boarded a school bus and demanded that he take two boys between six and eight years old. The bus driver — Charles Albert Poland, Jr. — is hailed as a hero for putting himself between Dykes and the children. His valor cost him his life, as Dykes allegedly shot Poland several times before taking the 5-year-old boy from the bus.
“You didn’t deserve to die but you died knowing you kept everyone safe,” said a letter from a student on Poland’s bus that was read aloud at the bus driver’s funeral.
The bunker in which Dykes holed up was four feet underground. He equipped it with electricity and was said to possibly have weeks of supplies stored. Negotiators communicated to him through a ventilation pipe. Because of the risk of tornadoes in this part of Alabama, bunkers are relatively common fixtures on the landscape.
Authorities sent Ethan’s prescription medicine as well as items the boy requested like Cheez-Its snacks and a red Hot Wheels toy car.
There was open communication with Dykes, according to authorities, but they said he’d made few demands, making it unclear what he hoped to accomplish.
Some neighbors believed Dykes timed the abduction to nearly coincide with a court appearance scheduled for the day after he shot Poland. In December, Dykes was arrested for allegedly shooting a gun to frighten a neighbor.
For that incident and others, people who lived near Dykes were leery of him long before he became a hostage-taker. They said that he once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, that he warned children they’d be shot for crossing onto his land and that he guarded his property at night with a flashlight and gun.
He was a loner who allegedly lost contact with an adult daughter years ago, according to people who lived near him. The sounds of conservative talk radio filled his home and fed his anti-government attitudes, locals said.
Details about Dykes slowly emerged as negotiations failed to break the impasse. Dykes was a decorated Vietnam War veteran who’d served in the Navy. He’d grown up nearby, but later in life, he moved to Florida where he worked as a surveyor and truck driver. He returned to Alabama about two years ago, acquiring the rural property on a dirt road.
In 1995, he was arrested for improper exhibition of a weapon. That charge was dismissed. In 2000, he was booked on marijuana possession charges.
UPDATE: (10:36pm EST) Sheriff Wally Olson confirmed in a press conference held just after 10pm that Jimmy Lee Dykes was armed. Olson also said that communication with Dykes had “deteriorated” to the point that law enforcement officials felt that the hostage, Ethan, was in imminent danger and decided to move on the bunker. An explosion was heard just before FBI entered the bunker rescuing Ethan. The boy, just two days before his 6th birthday, was said to be in good spirits, “laughing and smiling.” Dykes was killed in the process, though it is still unclear how.
Source: View HuffingtonPost.com Article
Thomas McMahon – Feb 7, 2013
Road by hostage site expected to be named for Charles Poland
DALE COUNTY, Ala. — A half-mile stretch of U.S. 231 here may soon bear the name of slain school bus driver Charles Poland. The roadway around the site of where Poland was fatally shot in the line of duty last week would be designated the “Charles ‘Chuck’ Albert Poland, Jr., Memorial Highway.”
Poland was killed while protecting his passengers from an armed intruder, who then took a 5-year-old boy hostage for nearly a week.
The Alabama Legislature this week passed a resolution to name the highway stretch in honor of Poland.
“The Legislature wishes to honor the memory of the slain Dale County bus driver, Chuck Poland, for his heroic actions on January 29, 2013, during the Midland City hostage crisis,” the resolution reads.
Signs or markers with the “Charles ‘Chuck’ Albert Poland, Jr., Memorial Highway” designation would be placed and maintained on the roadway.
The resolution has been sent to the governor for approval.
The Legislature also passed a resolution of condolence, mourning Poland’s death and celebrating his life.
Meanwhile, the municipal court judge for Midland City wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to honor Poland with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“I would humbly ask you, as the President of the United States, to bestow upon Mr. Poland’s family, posthumously, the National Medal of Freedom,” Judge William Matthews Jr. wrote. “Mr. Poland was only doing his job when he was gunned down on his bus. He was protecting the lives of the 21 children he helped escape through the back door/escape hatch when the intruder entered his bus.”
Source: View SchoolBusFleet.com Article