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Juvenile arrested for alleged false bomb threat on Lodi bus

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Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2001 10:00 pm

A 12-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday for allegedly making false bomb threats aboard a Lodi GrapeLine bus, a scene he reportedly imitated from the movie "Speed," police officials said.

No one was injured in the incident which occurred at approximately 3:45 p.m. at Turner Road and Mills Avenue.

The bus, which picked up a handful of Woodbridge Middle School students from nearby Woodlake Plaza, was heading east on Turner Road toward Church Street.

Thirteen passengers, including the boy, were on the bus.

An adult passenger informed the driver that one of the students sitting at the back of the bus made several statements about having a bomb.

Sandy Matthews, who works part-time as a GrapeLine bus driver, said she reported the threat to bus dispatchers and pulled off to the side of the road.

Matthews asked for the student who made the threat to come forward, which the boy did.

"He just said he had seen it on the movie 'Speed,' " she said.

The boy had been on the bus less than 10 minutes, Matthews said.

"He's a good kid. He didn't give me any problems. When he saw an officer behind the tree with a gun, I think it made him think about what he had done," she said.

Lodi police blocked traffic on Turner Road and surrounded the bus in the scorching 108 degree heat.

Officers told the boy to get off the bus and lie on the grass in a front yard, Sgt. Bill Barry said.

He was quickly arrested by several officers who used a police shield to approach the boy.

The bus was searched along with the boy's backpack, police said, but no bomb was found.

"He's learned a valuable lesson," Barry said. "He was literally terrified with what he did."

Police were required to take the bomb threat seriously, despite the potential that it could have been a hoax, Barry said.

About a dozen police officers, including the bomb squad, responded to the alleged threat, he said.

The boy was cited for the misdemeanor and released to his parents.

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