- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 5, 2002

BIRDSBORO, Pa. (AP) The Berks County students whose bus driver reportedly took them on a worrisome detour to the D.C. suburbs may be making a return trip.
Business leaders in Prince George's County have invited the 13 Berks Christian School students to tour the White House, visit an amusement park and reunite with police who came to their aid.
"It was surprising because we're not celebrities," said Lisa C. Berky of Ruscombmanor Township, whose sons Brandon, 14, and Garret, 11, were aboard the bus. "We're just people who got caught in this situation."
The trip, which will include free hotel rooms and Six Flags amusement park tickets for the students and their families, is planned for May 17 to May 19.
"I think that it will kind of be a fun thing to have some nice memories rather than the potentially scary memories that they had here," said J. Matthew Neitzey, executive director of the Prince George's County Conference and Visitor's Bureau.
Otto L. Nuss, 66, of Colebrookdale Township, is accused of taking the students on a five-hour odyssey instead of delivering them to the Exeter Township school. The Jan. 24 trip ended about 100 miles later in Landover when Mr. Nuss stopped at a strip mall and surrendered to an off-duty police officer.
He had a rifle and more than 70 rounds of ammunition on the bus, investigators said.
None of the students was hurt, however, and some enjoyed the trip, skipping the chance to call for help on bathroom and lunch stops.
"It just didn't seem like he was kidnapping us," ninth-grader Tyler Rudolph said in the days afterward. "He told us we all needed a wake-up call and that we were going to learn something. And he was going to learn something, too."
Mr. Nuss, a longtime pie company worker, was in his first year driving for the school system. He had suffered mental breakdowns in the past and said he had stopped taking a prescribed medicine, friends said. He remains in federal custody on kidnapping charges, and has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam.
The families involved are grateful for the free getaway offer, but it won't end the saga, Mrs. Berky said. Some still have a hard time discussing the ordeal, which left parents in the dark about their childrens' whereabouts and well-being throughout the day.


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