Those who called 911 say Comeaux could have escaped again

December 7, 2009 3:36:00 PM PST
Houston police say they were quick to get to the scene and apprehend prison escapee Arcade Comeaux. But those who first called 911 tell us a different story, saying Comeaux had a big opportunity to slip away again.

"He was here on the fourth seat, asleep with his head laying against this window," said the transportation director for the Children First Elementary Academy on East Little York at Hollister, who didn't want us to user her name.

The sight of a stranger on board her bus frightened her.

"Obviously, my yells startled him because I was yelling for dear life," she said.

Her screams attracted nearby teachers, who escorted the man off the bus, barefoot, dirty and dressed in tattered pants. And it was those pants that made her take a second look.

"The TDC pants gave it away," she said. "The grey pants with the blue stripes going up the side."

Teacher Terrance O'Neil said he called 911 to let law enforcement know there just might be an escaped convict on their campus.

"I told them exactly what was going on," said O'Neil.

Police records show they got a call about a trespasser at 5:49am, responded within 10 minutes and found nothing and cleared the scene.

But teachers there say they never saw any officers, even as they stalled their stranger with 15 minutes of conversation.

"That was kind of our way to walk him up, to give the authorities time to get here, to catch him," said O'Neil.

And even after he left, teachers don't think he went very far because just two hours later and just two doors down, police found Comeaux armed with two guns.

"This is the first I've heard any information on that," said Houston Police Department Chief Harold Hurtt.

At Monday's press conference, Chief Hurtt said he knew nothing of the call from the school, but promised to look into it.

"If it did happen, we definitely should have responded immediately," he said.

And teachers here are waiting for those answers, wondering why their pleas for help went ignored.

"We were not protected and we were not served today, and that's a horrible feeling," said the school's transportation director.

We put in a request for the 911 call and related records.


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