Hero bus driver had North Idaho roots
February 1, 2013
Charles "Chuck" Poland, 66, the driver of an
Alabama school bus who stood off a gunman,
refusing his demands to turn over two young
children and allowing 21 students time to
evacuate before he was shot and killed, was from
Payette, Idaho, and grew up in North Idaho.
Schools photo of a hero, Charles "Chuck"
According to an article in Thursday's Coeur
d'Alene Press by Maureen Dolan (available
here), Poland, now being hailed as a
national hero for his sacrifice in a tragedy
that's still unfolding, lived in Fernwood while
growing up, and later moved to Athol, where his
mother, Mildred Poland, and sister Vicki
Upchurch still live.
Poland, who lived in Newton, Alabama, drove
school buses for Dale County Schools, which
issued a press release January 30, saying,
"Yesterday, tragedy struck the Dale County
Schools family. Today, we are extending our
hearts and prayers for the safe return of one
our students and we are mourning a hero, 66
year-old Charles Poland, who gave his life to
protect twenty-one students who are now home
safely with their families.
"Mr. Poland was well-loved by all of us here at
Dale County Schools and has been a bus driver
for the school system for four years. Prior to
his full-time service, he was a substitute bus
driver. He was a valuable member of our
transportation department, and we will forever
remember him for the bravery he showed
In the wake of the shooting Dale County schools
were closed for the week.
According to reports, Poland was shuttling
students around Midland City, Alabama, when
Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, approached the bus and
demanded that two young students be turned over
When Poland refused, blocking access to the bus
and allowing the children to flee, Dykes opened
fire and Poland fell dead.
Dykes managed to grab a five year old boy, the
other child he was after was grabbed but managed
to get away, and take the child to a bunker he'd
built near his home, where a standoff with law
enforcement continues today.
"Mr. Charles 'Chuck' Albert Poland, Jr. of
Newton went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday,
January 29, 2013," his obituary reads,
"performing a heroic deed while driving a school
bus. He was 66. Funeral services will be held at
2 p.m. on Sunday, February 3, in the Ozark Civic
Center with Reverend Ray Layton and Reverend
Charles Littlefield officiating and with Dale
County Superintendent of Education, Donny Bynum,
delivering the eulogy."
His full obituary appears
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