A high school teacher in Southern California was arrested after allegedly kidnapping three students and holding them at knifepoint while intoxicated.
34-year-old John Edward Maust was reportedly standing on a street corner when three students of his spotted him. They pulled over to greet him, and when he asked them for a ride, they said yes. Almost immediately, the students realized that their teacher was not acting normal, and after Maust became worried by their conversation with him, they decided to pull over the car.
“They immediately noticed that he was intoxicated," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Moore. "They didn't feel safe. They got out of the car and he ordered them back into the car."
The teacher then reportedly pulled out a knife on the students and demanded that they take him to a Jack In The Box restaurant. As the students fearfully drove, one was able to discreetly call 911, and as soon as Maust heard a police helicopter above them, he exited the car and fled on foot.
Maust, who teaches at Arroyo Pacific Academy in Arcadia, surrendered at the Altadena Sheriff’s Station on Sunday and was promptly arrested. Phillip Clarke, president of Arroyo Pacific Academy, expressed his concern for the obviously troubled teacher, but made clear that the school’s number one priority was the kids.
"We are immensely saddened," said Clarke. "We are very concerned about the well being of a long-term, well-respected faculty member who is involved. Our hearts and our prayers go out to him at this moment of this situation in his life. Our primary concern is for the well being and welfare of our students."
Maust has now been placed on administrative leave indefinitely and is facing charges of criminal threats, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. After his arrest, he was being held on $100,000 bail.