Nebraska teacher arrested after police find her, teen student naked in car, officials say

A Nebraska high school teacher was jailed on Monday after officials say they found her naked in a car with a teenage student after a car crash.

Erin Ward, 45, a substitute teacher at Omaha Public Schools, was arrested over the weekend on one count of first-degree sexual abuse by a school employee after she admitted to having sex with the teen boy, Douglas County Sheriff Aaron Hanson confirmed to USA TODAY.

According to Hanson, just before 3 a.m. on Saturday, deputies responded to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle parked on a dead end road in a neighborhood in Elkhorn.

Elkorn is a neighborhood on the western side of the city of Omaha.

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Teen boy attempts to drive away naked, crashes into yard

According to a press release from the sheriff's office, arriving deputies found two people in the backseat of a gray Honda Pilot − one who jumped into the driver’s seat, sped off and crashed into a yard two blocks away.

After the crash, the release continues, deputies reported seeing a teen boy without clothes get out of the driver’s seat and flee.

A Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy at a traffic stop. On April 13, 2024, deputies arrested Erin Ward, 45, on one count of first-degree sexual abuse by a school employee after she was allegedly found unclothed in a vehicle with a 17-year-old student. The teen, police said, attempted to drive away when deputies approached the vehicle they were in but crashed into a nearby yard.

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Teacher Erin Ward found undressed in backseat of car

At that same time, according to the release, the other person in the Honda − identified by deputies as Ward − was putting her clothes on in the backseat.

After officers found an Omaha Public Schools employee ID in the car, Ward told deputies she is a substitute teacher for several schools in the district including Burke High School. Deputies also said she admitted she had sex with the teen − a 17-year-old boy from one of the high schools she worked for.

Just over an hour later, the release continues, deputies located the teen in a nearby neighborhood wearing only boxers, a T-shirt and socks.

"The victim was transported to a safe place to receive care and be interviewed," the release states.

Both the teen and Ward were treated for minor injuries from the crash, the sheriff's office reported, and Ward was arrested and booked into the local jail.

Substitute teacher taught at Omaha Public Schools since September

Omaha Public Schools spokesperson Bridget Blevins said Ward substitute taught for the district starting in September 2023, but "was not considered a full-time or part-time employee."

"They will not be returning to our school or any others in our district," Burke High School Principal Darren Rasmussen wrote to parents in a letter obtained by USA TODAY. "Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of the students we serve. We take this most seriously."

Rasmussen added counselors will be available on Tuesday for students in need of support."

Teacher Erin Ward jailed without bond

A jail spokesperson said Ward was being held without bond on Monday.

It was not immediately known if she had obtained an attorney or when she is scheduled to appear before a judge on the felony charge.

Anyone with additional information about Ward is asked to contact the sheriff's office.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nebraska teacher arrested, accused of sexual abuse of a teen boy