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'Most wanted' fugitive spotted on school field trip

SEATTLE -- The Seattle School District is investigating how a fugitive from the law ended up on a school field trip Wednesday afternoon.

A fellow parent recognized the man, Donald Vasser, from the TV show "Washington's Most Wanted," and police were called in.

Vasser fled, but turned himself in after patrol officers, SWAT and a K-9 unit spent hours searching for him. A Department of Corrections employee reached Vasser on the phone and convinced him to give up.

The drama started when 20 Lowell Elementary students and a few adults went to Cal Anderson Park for an ice-skating field trip. Vasser was one of the chaperones.

"He wanted to go to this field trip with his daughter because she was really wanting him to go," said Mary Vasser-Johnson, Vasser's mother. "He said he was going to take a chance because he didn't want to disappoint her."

While walking back to the school, one parent recognized that Vasser was wanted by police. Officers were called in, prompting a lockdown at Lowell Elementary.

According to the Washington Department of Corrections, Vasser was in prison from 2006 to February of 2011 on a drug conviction. Vasser violated probation by having wine in his fridge, and a warrant for his arrest was issued on November 28.

In a statement, the Seattle School District says it is currently investigating how the parent was allowed to participate in the field trip saying, "Each Seattle school is expected to conduct a WATCH (Washington Access to Criminal History) check on all parent volunteers. It appears that there was a miscommunication in the building today. The parent was not cleared to chaperone."

"If it's true, I'd probably be quite bothered," said Amy Tu, a parent with two kids who were in the school during the lockdown.

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