EXCLUSIVE: Sister Of Alabama Bus Driver Killed Trying To Protect Children Talks With KHQ
by Dylan Wohlenhaus, KHQ Local News Reporter - email
ATHOL, Idaho - "My brother would have done anything to protect those kids."
Vicki Upchurch talks only to KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus about her brother, Charles Poland, who was shot and killed in Midland City, Alabama Tuesday. Poland was driving a school bus when Alabama authorities say a man identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes stormed the bus demanding he take a child. Vicki Upchurch says that's when her brother, Poland refused and stood in the way of Dykes and the children, then was shot and killed. "I expected them to say he had a heart attack or got in to a car wreck. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd get shot, and shot 4 times." Upchurch says after her cousin in Alabama informed her of her brothers death.
After the shooting authorities say the suspect then took hostage a 5 year old boy. Authorities have been in a standoff with the suspect since Tuesday where they believe he and the child are in an underground bunker. Charles Poland and his family grew up in North Idaho where much of the family still lives, Upchurch says. In the 1960's Poland joined the Army and moved away to Alabama where he married and has lived ever since. Upchurch says she and her brother stayed close as he made numerous trips back to Idaho.
Poland retired from being a diesel mechanic in 2009 and had been driving a school bus in Alabama to help support his wife until she was able to retire. "We will get through this. My brother was very religious. He had a deep faith. He lived that life too. He'd do anything for anybody" Upchurch says about her brother. Vicki Upchurch says authorities have not yet released her brothers body. Family members still living in North Idaho have made plans to travel to Alabama for services.
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