Ithaca, N.Y. — TCAT driver Patrick Naughton was driving his Route 32 bus on Cornell’s campus Wednesday when he saw two children and a man.

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Naughton recognized the children — they fit the description of the two allegedly abducted by their father in Tompkins County the day before. Naughton turned down his radio and “quietly notified” TCAT Dispatcher Jeremiah Anderson, who in turn called police.

Police quickly pulled over the bus and arrested Leonard L. Thorne, 38. The two children were safely taken into the hand of the authorities. The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office canceled the Amber Alert notification after the children were found safely.

The TCAT employees are now being lauded for their role in the successful resolution of the scare.

“We commend their quick thinking and professionalism in ensuring the safety of the children,” said Phil Smith, who along with his fellow Transit Supervisor Mike Smith followed the bus and subsequently arrived on the scene to assist. “It goes to show how much our bus operators and entire team at TCAT care about our passengers and the community.”

Additionally, when the Amber Alert was issued, TCAT bus driver Kirill Karandeyev “asked TCAT Dispatcher Jeremiah Anderson if he could issue an alert to his fellow bus operators via the TCAT radio system.”

The bus was only held up for 15 minutes before it was allowed to go back en route.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.