NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - A walk home from the bus stop turned into a frightening experience for a North Fort Myers teen. She says a strange man tried to get her to come into his van.
Mariner High School student Elizabeth Haynes makes a half mile walk almost every day from her bus stop. But Thursday afternoon, the walk home along Evergreen Road felt much longer.
"I saw a white van coming and the guy inside waved at me," Haynes said.
Thinking it was just a friendly wave, she waved back.
"I'm turning on my street to go home, I see the white van coming back, and I am like okay, maybe he got lost or is just turning around. But then I see him pull in front of me," Haynes said. "I keep walking, and I see him in the car and he's like, come here, and I'm like, no. He's waving at me, trying to get me to come here."
Scared of what could happen next, Elizabeth ran home, trying to remember everything she saw.
"The van was just a white work van, just a plain old van with no windows in the back, kind of rusty looking, kind of dirty," Haynes said. "There was a ladder on top of the van, there was a silver ladder."
She told the Lee County Sheriff's Office that the driver appeared to be a Hispanic male in his mid-20s or early 30s, clean-shaven with a buzz cut, and dirty-looking, as though he'd been working. Elizabeth said she'd never seen the man or the van before.
"I've actually been really scared all day, coming home and having to look around me and see if there is a white van coming toward me again," Haynes said.
Her father is just thankful she made it home. "This is not just for my child, this is for everybody else's child," John Collins said. "I want everybody else to be safe. My daughter had the training to not get in the van. Somebody else's might."
While there was no physical contact between the driver and Elizabeth, the Sheriff's Office had deputies patrol the area around the bus stop Friday.