An Arcadia high school teacher who was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping three students at knife point has been placed on administrative leave indefinitely, school officials said.
John Edward Maust, 34, was taken into custody Sunday on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment and making threats after turning himself in to authorities, according to the
Maust, who was an instructor with Arroyo Pacific Academy in Arcadia, has since been advised that he is on administrative leave, Philip Clarke, president of the four-year, private college-preparatory school, said in a statement.
"Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our students," Clarke said.
School officials, Clarke said, were "immensely saddened" about the incident, describing Maust as a "long-term, well-respected member" of the school's staff.
The incident began about 9:35 p.m. Saturday as the students were driving near Ganesha Avenue and East Mariposa Street in Altadena and they spotted Maust, their teacher, standing on the sidewalk, sheriff's officials said.
When they stopped the car to ask him if he needed a ride, Maust appeared to be intoxicated, authorities said. One of the students became worried about a conversation they were having with Maust during the ride and pulled over.
The students got out of the car, but Maust insisted on going to
One of the students was able to call for help, which prompted a sheriff's helicopter to respond.
Maust apparently saw the helicopter and ordered the student driving the car to stop, then left the vehicle and fled the area, authorities said.