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TCAT drivers lauded for action in Ithaca abduction

TCAT Transit Supervisors Mike Smith and Phil Smith today lauded the actions of two TCAT bus operators who acted on a New York State Amber Alert, which led to the safe custody of two children allegedly abducted by their father in Tompkins County Tuesday afternoon.Upon learning about the alleged abduction via an Amber Alert, TCAT Bus Operator Kirill Karandeyev asked TCAT Dispatcher Jeremiah Anderson if he could issue an alert to his fellow bus operators via the TCAT radio system.Anderson granted him permission and shortly after hearing the radio alert around 1 p.m. today, TCAT bus operator Patrick Naughton spotted the children and their alleged abductor riding on the Route 32 he was driving on Cornell University’s campus.Naughton quickly turned down his radio and quietly notified TCAT Dispatcher Anderson, who in turn notified local police. Police then pulled the bus over and apprehended the suspect.”We commend their quick thinking and professionalism in insuring the safety of the children,” said Phil Smith, who along with his fellow Transit Supervisor Mike Smith followed the bus and subsequently arrived on the scene to assist. “It goes to show how much our bus operators and entire team at TCAT care about our passengers and the community.”Both transit supervisors praised local police, especially Cornell Police officers, for their quick response and for comforting and taking care of the children after they pulled the bus over, apprehended the suspect and regained custody of the children.Mike Smith said that the Route 32 bus was only held up for 15 minutes before it was able to go back on route.He also praised Karandeyev and Naughton for their actions.”They both handled it very professionally and calmly and it speaks volumes about the different types of situations that come up on a day‑to‑day basis for our bus operators,” he said. “We strive to maintain a safe, comfortable and efficient system for our passengers every day and to keep any disruptions and problems to a minimum.”

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