Man in van causes alarm at school | September 18, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - September 18, 2009

Man in van causes alarm at school

Police investigating incident near Los Cerros Middle School

by Geoff Gillette

A student walking home from Los Cerros Middle School recently reported that an unknown male in a white van followed him part of the way home from school.

Danville Police Lt. Mark Williams said they received a call from the student's parent shortly after 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4, reporting the incident. According to the report, the young man was walking home from school in the Cameo Acres neighborhood when he noticed the white van slowly following him up the street.

The young man used his cell phone to contact his father, who directed the youth to go directly to a neighbor's home. The parent then called police.

A squad car dispatched to the scene did not locate the van. The student described the driver as a white male wearing a red hat. A second person was sitting in the front seat, but the youth was unable to provide a description.

Police notified the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and a notice was sent home to parents in the area to inform them of the occurrence and warn students to be wary of strange vehicles in their neighborhoods.

The incident reported is similar to one that occurred recently in Pleasant Hill. Danville police investigators are working with Pleasant Hill authorities to determine if they could be the same person or persons.

Williams lauded the youth's actions in immediately contacting one of his parents.

"He did exactly the right thing," he said. "Under no circumstances should you get in a car or follow a stranger."

Authorities suggest that parents establish a code word with their children in the event that someone else will be picking them up. Parents are urged to have good communication with the schools in such incidents and keep both students and teachers informed if there is a change in plans.