Substitute teacher accused of having sex with a student who ran from the car ‘with no clothes’ as officers approached

A Nebraska substitute teacher is in custody after allegedly sexually abusing a high school student in the back seat of a vehicle over the weekend, according to authorities.

Erin Ward, 45, faces one count of criminal sexual assault by a school employee, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

According to law authorities, the teacher allegedly admitted to the crime following a frenetic chain of events, including an attempted getaway.

Just before 3 a.m. on Saturday, the sheriff’s office received a complaint about a strange vehicle near the end of a dead-end road in the Elkhorn area on Omaha’s far western outskirts. Sheriff’s deputies arrived later and approached the gray 2015 Honda Pilot parked near North 189th street.

As the deputies approached the mid-size SUV, they observed two people in the back seat, according to a press statement published later Saturday. One of the two “quickly accessed” the front driver’s side seat and started the vehicle. However, the Honda crashed almost immediately into a yard about two blocks north.

“The driver, a teenage male, fled on foot while wearing no clothes,” the sheriff’s office stated in a press release. “He was not initially located.”

Meanwhile, the second individual in the SUV remained behind. When deputies approached Ward, she was “putting her clothes on in the back seat.”

After deputies discovered an Omaha Public School employee identity card in the vehicle, the defendant allegedly told them that she worked as a substitute teacher at nearby Burke High School “and other metro Omaha area schools.”

Ward allegedly admitted to having intercourse with the boy, whom she identified as 17 years old and a Burke student, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to law police, Ward owns the SUV “and her spouse.”

The youngster was discovered at 4 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. He was reportedly “wearing only boxers, a t-shirt, and socks.”

Ward and the teen sustained minor injuries in the automobile accident.

“The victim was transported to a safe place to receive care and be interviewed,” according to the sheriff’s office news release.

Ward is still being held at Douglas County Jail as of this writing. Her first name is either misspelled as “Eri” in jail documents or as “Erin” in a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Omaha Public Schools responded to the charges on Sunday in a statement acquired by KETV, an Omaha ABC affiliate.

“We are writing to share that law enforcement has arrested a metro-area substitute teacher for inappropriate conduct with a minor,” Burke High Principal Darren Rasmussen wrote. “The individual worked at Burke High for a few days during the 2023-24 academic year. They will not be returning to our school or any other in the district.”

The probe is reported to be ongoing.

Ward faces a potential term of 20 years in state prison if convicted as charged.


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