Bus brake lines cut, dead cat left behind at Hempstead ISD

HOUSTON - Police are looking for two people who tampered with three Hempstead ISD school buses and left behind the body of a dead cat.

Hempstead ISD mechanic Terry Machac first noticed the problem early Tuesday morning as he began his normal routine of starting and warming up the fleet.

"As I walked down, I saw the bus and that cat and I looked underneath and I saw coolant. And then I saw wires hanging so I knew something was wrong," said Machac.

Machac noticed more damage as he opened up the hood. Someone had cut the air hoses to the buses' brake lines. There was also fur on the alternator.

"They definitely knew something about automotive. I can't think of why anyone in their right mind would want to endanger the lives of kids," said Machac.

The bus was taken out of service. After a more thorough inspection later in the day, the district's mechanics noticed hoses on two other buses had also been tampered with, though their brake hoses were still intact.

The district's operations director, Floyd Richard, said security cameras picked up the glow of flashlights at around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Because of the darkness, the people themselves couldn't be identified.

"With the hoses they cut, I'm skeptical if they were kids. I really don't know, but it's something we have to do our best to prevent and keep our kids safe," said Richard.

He said the district is upgrading the security cameras and installing more lighting in the bus lot.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Hempstead ISD Police Department.

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