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DALE CO., AL, (WSFA) -
When Jimmy Lee Dykes walked onto a school bus Tuesday afternoon, it wasn't the first time he had done so, according to one of his neighbors. Dykes is the man sources say is at the center of the Dale County hostage standoff.
"The day before, Monday, he had actually gotten on the bus and spoken with the bus driver, " said Kelly Miller. "That's why they (her sons) say it wasn't out the way Tuesday when he got back on the bus."
Miller said her sons were getting off the bus at the time, and did not indicate that the conversation was hostile. Dykes had weeks before smoothed out the sand on the dirt road where the bus turns around everyday, to make it easier to travel, according to Miller.
On Tuesday, Miller said Charles Poland, the bus driver, wanted to give Dykes a gift of yard eggs and marmalade as a token of gratitude. But Dykes wouldn't come to the gate.
"And it wasn't long after that Mr. Jim called my Dad to the gate and said here, I don't want this," Miller said.
Later that same day, according to the family, is when Dykes came on the bus, shot Poland and took the child hostage. Miller's sons were dropped off just moments before.
"Being that we were one of the only people in that neighborhood that had a rapport with the man, living next door to him, he let my kids walk off that bus, and get home before any of this happened," Miller said. "I just can't wrap my arms around it."