CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – A Broward County School bus driver and a school bus attendant are being praised for helping a child get away from a man accused of committing a lewd act right in front of the girl.
Coral Springs Police say Gwendolyn Brinson and Kathy Ritter were in the school bus near the Coral Springs Country Club on April 30th when they saw a strange guy in a car talking to a young girl.
“I seen this vehicle there and I seen this young girl that I see all the time walking home,” Brinson told CBS 4 News. “And she was to this vehicle and I just started hollering, ‘Stranger Danger! Stranger! Do not talk to stranger. Get away from him!'”
Police say the man was Jorge Garcia.
Ritter said Garcia was doing more than talking to the child.
“I seen his private part in his hand and it shocked me, I was like, ‘Oh my God! Little girl, little girl get away. This man is naked.'” said Ritter.
Ritter got off the bus and went to the child. She said Garcia started arguing with the bus driver saying he was asking the child for directions. Ritter told the girl to tell her mother what happened.
“She was just scared and ran off but I watched her go home,” Ritter said.
Investigators say Garcia jumped in his car and drove off but a neighbor who heard the commotion followed him and got a description of the car and the tag number.
Police say Garcia tried to lure two other children to his car as he left the neighborhood but they ran away.
Police arrested Garcia a few days later and charged him with lewd and lascivious exhibition. He’s being held in the Broward County Jail on $500,000 bond.
On Friday, Coral Springs police released surveillance video from an incident involving Garcia a few days prior to the school bus encounter. Police say Garcia walked around a car with a 12-year-old girl inside. Investigators say Garcia parked next to the car and touched himself.
Ritter and Brinson say they’re always paying attention to who is one the streets and who looks out of place. They said they’re pleased that their actions might help keep this community a little safer.
“I’m just glad that the young girl is safe and her mom won’t have to be crying cause something really could have happened, really bad,” Brinson said.
Brinson and Ritter are being considered for an employee of the month award for their quick thinking actions.