June 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm

California teacher accused of kidnapping 3 students is suspended

Altadena, Calif. — A Southern California high school teacher who allegedly kidnapped three of his students at knifepoint over the weekend and demanded they take him to Jack-in-the-Box has been suspended until further notice.

Arroyo Pacific Academy President Philip Clarke says the school contacted 34-year-old teacher John Edward Maust and told him he is on indefinite leave.

Clarke says the school will have no comment. He adds that Maust has been a long-term, well-respected member of the faculty so the staff’s hearts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Clarke has been at the 130-student private school in Arcadia for 10 years. He teaches social studies and physical education.

Maust asked three students for a ride, then abducted them at knifepoint and ordered them to take him to a fast food restaurant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives said Monday.

Deputies said he was standing on the sidewalk around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night when three 17-year-old male students from the academy stopped to say hello.

As the teacher walked toward them, he appeared to be intoxicated, the students told investigators.

When Maust asked for a ride, the students said yes and he got in the car.

Something Maust said in the car caused the driver to pull over and the students to jump out, but Maust ordered them back, pulled a knife and told them to take him to a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant. One of the students was able to call 911 as they drove, deputies said.

When Maust saw a sheriff’s department helicopter, he got out of the car and fled, deputies said. None of the students was hurt.

On Sunday, around 1:30 p.m., Maust walked into the department’s Altadena station and surrendered without incident. He was booked at the Crescenta Valley Station for investigation of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and criminal threats. He was being held on $100,000 bail.