UPDATE: Witness speaks out after report of stranger in white van - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UPDATE: Witness speaks out after report of stranger in white van approaching student near Jacob Elementary

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Parents of students at a local elementary school received a letter Thursday urging caution after a student said she was approached by a stranger in a white van.

The letter, signed by Principal Michael Terry, was sent home to Jacob Elementary School parents.

It came after a parent, Atosha Haley, says she witnessed the incident.

Haley says she lives behind Jacob Elementary and had just dropped her daughter off at school, when she noticed a white van without a license plate driving alongside three separate girls who were walking down the street.

Haley says those three girls appeared to be in the third or fourth grade, and were wearing uniforms, so they did not appear to be Jacob Elementary students.

According to Haley, the driver of the van -- a white male with brown hair -- seemed to be attempting to engage the girls in conversation, but they ignored him and walked on.

That's when, Haley said, the driver turned his attention to another girl who was walking down the street by herself. That girl appeared to be of kindergarten age, according to Haley.

"The van pulled up and you see her stop and talk to him," Haley said.

At one point, the girl started to get inside the van. That's when Haley said she sprung into action, hopping out her own car, yelling "Hey, come here!"

Haley said the girl stopped and stared at her, and Haley again yelled, "No, hurry, come here!" That's when the girl started to walk away from the van.

"As soon as she went to walk toward me -- like walking toward me -- the van sped off," Haley said.

Haley says that when she asked the little girl why she was going to get into the van, the little girl told her that the man offered to buy her breakfast and drive her to school if she would get inside.

Haley says she then watched the girl walk to school, before contacting the school and police. A letter was then sent out to parents, asking them to remain vigilant after the incident.

"It was reported that an adult in a white van approached some students as they walked to school," the letter indicated. "While this is a safety concern, no children were harmed. This issue has been reported to both JCPS Security and the Louisville Metro Police Department."

The letter goes on to remind parents about the dangers posed by strangers.

"Please take this time to remind your child about the dangers of talking with strangers and remind them of the necessary safety precautions required when traveling to and from school," the letter states. "We take the safety of our students very seriously and appreciate your continued support. Thank you for the opportunity to educate your child."

For her part, Haley says parents should be extra careful when their children are walking to school.

"There’s no way a six-year-old should be walking seven blocks to school," she said.

She added that you can tell a child over and over not to talk to strangers, but parents have to follow through and make sure their child is staying true to this edict.

"For that age group -- it don't matter," she said. "You can tell them so many times they’re not going to listen if they want something so bad."

Stay with WDRB News. We'll update this story as it develops.

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