Three DeKalb County teens got an unusual field trip Friday when they skipped school to accompany the mother of one of them on a bank heist.Police in Lilburn said Tawander Simmons, 35, of Stone Mountain, pointed a handgun at a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank in the 5500 block of Lawrenceville Highway Friday morning. She was accompanied by two of the teens, while a third waited outside in the getaway car, said Deputy Chief of Police Bruce Hedley.
Hedley said early in the day that Simmons checked her son Benny Brice, 17, and the two other boys, out of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain just before the robbery. Hedley said that account was based on what the arrested youths had told officers, but he said the school police later told him that only one of the teens had attended school Friday and then walked out but that the others had skipped.
School officials gave an account that differed slightly. A spokesman for the DeKalb County School System told the AJC that there was no record of any of the three teens attending school Friday morning.
"Nobody has a record of them showing up to class," said the schools spokesman, Walter Woods. He said there also was no record of Simmons checking them out.
The robbery occurred at around 9 a.m.
A witness called police with the description of a fleeing vehicle, and minutes later Lilburn officers spotted the red Toyota Corolla and gave chase.
Two police cars followed that Corolla at speeds up to 90 m.p.h. as it fled down Highway 78 onto southbound I-285. The car exited at East Ponce de Leon Avenue near Clarkston and attempted a right turn at the end of the exit ramp without slowing down, Hedley said. The car went into the embankment across the road and crashed into railroad tracks.
"No innocent bystanders were injured," Hedley said. "We were very lucky."
Police arrested Simmons and her son and two other teens, both from Lithonia: Glenn Broom, 18, and David Rollins, 17.
All four were charged with armed robbery and taken to the Gwinnett County Jail.
Broom's father, also named Glenn, learned of his son's arrest by reading ajc.com Friday afternoon. He spoke briefly with a reporter on the phone, while a woman cried in the background.
Broom said his son was friends with Simmons' son, but he said he didn't know how she had gotten ahold of him Friday morning. "I'm trying to find out right now," he said. "I'm just without words. ... My son is a good kid."
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