Homeowner near L.C. Bird saw teen suspects on run after fiery van crash

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The driver of a van that rammed into the front doors of L.C. Bird High School could be tied to another crime. Fingerprint dust stains the outer edges of a now bent window screen at a home just down the street from the school. Investigators told homeowners Amanda Traylor and Brett Mitchell whoever did this may have been on the run from a fiery felony at L.C. Bird High School.

"Went to the bathroom and I heard someone prying at the window," Mitchell said.

Sources told CBS 6 News that someone strapped a landscaping brick to the accelerator pedal of the van and let it slam into the front entrance of the Chesterfield high school.

Sources said a tire spinning may be what triggered the early morning fire.

"They told me the guy that ran into the school was trying to escape and hide so he tried prying out the window, makes me feel uncomfortable," said Mitchell.

Multiple police sources said the van was swiped from the 6200 block of Barrister Road, about half a mile from L.C. Bird High School.

Sources also confirmed that it wasn't hard for the crooks to steal the van, because the keys were left inside.

Cleanup crews spent all day fanning out the smoke smell and mopping up a mess left by sprinklers that extinguished the fire.

Neighbors are trying to wrap their minds around what was a wild night.

"Guy knocked down the gate and took off running," Mitchell said.

The victims of the attempted break-in told CBS 6 reporter Jon Burkett that the suspects looked like teens. He was able to provide police with the description of the people he saw running from his house.

Classes are canceled at least through Monday.  All weekend activities like basketball games have been moved to other locations.

CBS 6 will continue to follow this story and post important updates.

A note from the principal of L.C. Bird was sent out Thursday afternoon.

Hello, this is Laura Hebert, principal of Bird High School, with an update on the situation that unfolded at our school earlier this morning.

Our support services team has worked diligently throughout the day to clean our school. Repairs are being made to our front entrance, water has been removed, carpets are being replaced and the smoke odor has started to dissipate.

Classes again will be cancelled for students on Friday. Our building will remain closed for activities through Sunday night. We are hopeful that we will be able to reopen on Monday.

The all-region orchestra event scheduled for this weekend at Bird High School instead will be held at Meadowbrook High School. The specialty center testing session scheduled for Saturday will be held next door at the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center. Athletic events held off-campus will go on as scheduled. Coaches and extracurricular sponsors will be in touch with their student-athletes regarding travel and equipment pickup times.  Faculty and staff will receive additional information in a subsequent email and phone call.  We appreciate your continued patience and support of our efforts to provide your child with a safe, healthy learning environment. I look forward to seeing everyone on Monday.