HPD: Man who drove away with kids in day care van charged with kidnapping

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter , Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - The suspect accused of stealing a day care vehicle with five children inside appeared in court overnight.

Brenton Alex Simmons, 24, was charged with five counts of kidnapping. His total bond was set at $250,000.

In court Friday, a prosecutor read the allegation against Simmons, saying, "This defendant got into that vehicle -- the keys were in it -- and began driving off with the children in the car. The complainant got into another vehicle and chased the defendant. Yelling at him to stop the car. Yelling at him in regards to the children. He continued on."

Simmons is expected in court on Tuesday to have an attorney appointed to his case.

A day care worker left two girls and three boys alone inside a running vehicle at a Jack in the Box in the 8600 block of West Bellfort at South Gessner. 

He hopped into the van and drove away, with the children screaming and people chasing behind.

"I was telling him (one of the children) to come on and I turned around and opened the door, and when I opened the door to tell him to come on, the man jumped in my car," said the day care vehicle's driver Latonya Jackson.

Bobby Johnson was at the Jack in the Box when it happened. After hearing the children scream, he ran outside and started chasing after the van on foot.

Johnson said he eventually lost sight of the van, and that's when he pulled out his phone and called 911.

HPD homicide investigators, in coordination with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and Harris County Precinct 5 deputy constables, located the suspect, children and stolen vehicle at 22300 Cinco Ranch Boulevard in Fort Bend County around 9:15 p.m. They were able to find the children using a GPS signal from a cellphone inside the van.

Local 2 spoke exclusively with the 9-year-old who called 911 from inside a carjacked vehicle Wednesday night.

"It was in a cup holder in the back seat, so I grabbed it and called 911," Alex Veasley said.

Alex and an 11-year-old boy told a dispatcher what was going on and where they were. Shortly after that call, they saw the flashing police lights that meant they would soon be free.

"I was like, 'Yes!' And I was happy because I could finally go home because I was exhausted," said Veasley.

The children were reunited with their parents Wednesday night.

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