School Bus Driver Cleared of Abduction Attempt Charge

By Matthew Stabley
|  Thursday, May 27, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM EDT
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School Bus Driver Cleared of Abduction Attempt Charge

NBCWashington.com

A man charged last week with attempted abduction has been exonerated by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.

Carl Frederick Rice, 51, who had worked as substitute bus driver, has been released from jail, his attorney, Frank Salvato, told News4. All charges were dropped.

A 9-year-old boy had said he was riding his scooter home at about 6 p.m. May 17 when a man in a tan Mazda pickup truck pulled up and repeatedly asked the boy to get in the truck, according to the sheriff's office. The boy said he pulled out his cell phone to call his mother and the man drove away.

The boy's mother saw a truck matching the description at Rice's home, and he was taken into custody, identified by the child and charged, authorities said.

According to Rice's attorney, the sheriff's investigation has revealed that Rice's arrest was a mistake. Salvato was told that Rice and the boy did not have an interaction and that the boy misinterpreted an interaction with another person.

A man similar in appearance to Rice with similar clothing did have contact with the boy, but no crime occurred, according to the sheriff's office. That man recently came forward, the Free Lance Star reported. Apparently he had talked to the boy because the boy had fallen off his scooter, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Liz Scott.

Though the sheriff's office admits Rice was wrongly arrested, "Based on the evidence we had at the time, it would have been irresponsible not to make an arrest," Scott told the Free Lance Star.

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