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Man accused of taking school bus in Clinton County

CHARLOTTE, Iowa -- A school bus that had been reported stolen was found in a field with one man inside.

Deputies were called to the 100 block of Park Avenue in Charlotte when a Northeast District school bus was stolen around 5p.m. on Tuesday, February 13th.  According to a statement from the Clinton County Sheriff's Department, the caller said the bus had been driven away westward on Park Avenue.

Shortly after the call, deputies found the bus stuck in a field close to where it had been taken from, said the sheriff's department.

According to authorities, 38-year-old Thomas Jason Ruchotzke from Clinton, Iowa was found inside.

"After a brief standoff, deputies were able to take the male into custody," read the statement.

The sheriff's department said that Ruchotzke  struck several mailboxes while he was driving the bus.  He has been charged with operating without owner's consent, third degree criminal mischief and driving while license suspended.