As Alabama standoff drags on, town grieves bus driver

8:24 PM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - The police standoff with an Alabama man accused of holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker continues for a fifth day.

Meanwhile, a nearby community is preparing to bury the beloved bus driver who was shot to death trying to protect children on his bus when the episode began days earlier.

Charles Albert Poland Jr., was described by folks in his hometown of Newton as a humble hero. And hundreds of people attended visitation services for him this evening. Mourners say they're proud of Poland for his act of selflessness, and for laying down his life for the children. His funeral is set for Sunday afternoon. Poland was 66.

Meanwhile, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson says the suspect, Jim Lee Dykes, has told authorities he has blankets and an electric heater in the bunker on his property. Authorities have been communicating with Dykes through a ventilation pipe.

Olson also thanked Dykes for taking care of the boy and allowing police to deliver coloring books, medication and toys for him.

The shooting and abduction took place in Midland City, a small town near Dothan, Ala., in the state's southeastern corner.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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