LOS ANGELES, Calif., – A 25-year-old man from Los Angeles is facing multiple counts of felony endangerment, assault and aggravated assault after attempting to take the wheel of a Greyhound bus en route from Los Angeles to Dallas early today, causing a crash that injured two dozen people, authorities said.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Carrick Cook said Maquel Donyel Morris attacked the driver of the bus around 1:45 a.m. today on Interstate 10, near Tonopah, 50 miles west of Phoenix. Cook said other passengers came to the aid of the driver and were able to stop the bus before it entered westbound lanes. Cook said the bus did not overturn.
Cook said 24 passengers were hospitalized, including one with lower body fractures.
Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said Morris had been under the influence of methamphetamines when he attacked the driver of the bus.
Graves said Morris’s girlfriend, who was travelling with him, told authorities “he had smoked a lot of meth” before boarding the bus in Los Angeles.
Graves said after Morris attacked the driver, “the passengers saw what was going on and tried to subdue this guy, and the driver was trying to control the bus. It was pandemonium.”
After the passengers pulled him off the driver, but while the bus was still moving, Morris jumped out of it and ran into the surrounding desert, Graves said.
The driver momentarily lost control of the bus, which crossed lanes and came to rest in a broad, deep median strip between the east and westbound lanes of the interstate, Graves said.
“It’s not a huge incline,” Graves said, “but for a vehicle as heavy as a bus, that’s going to be a major jolt.”
“A lot of people were thrown,” Graves added.
Of the 24 passengers who were hospitalized, three were airlifted, including one who helped subdue Morris, Officer Cook said.
Cook said the westbound lanes of the interstate were closed for 30 minutes to allow helicopters to land and transport the injured.
Graves said Morris was hospitalized and described his condition as “extremely high,” and added, “we’re trying to flush out his system.”
Officer Cook said Morris is facing 48 counts of felony endangerment, 24 counts of assault and three counts of aggravated assault.