Couple tries to hijack bus in Utah, flees in different vehicle

Thursday, October 18, 2001

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man tried to overpower a Greyhound bus driver late Wednesday in what police described as an attempted hijacking, but he was thwarted by other passengers before the driver safely stopped the vehicle.

The Utah Highway Patrol said the man and a woman accomplice fled in a a getaway vehicle and remained at large. The estimated 40 passengers got out unharmed, McCleve said.

Bus driver Gene Savage told KUTV television that the man grabbed the steering wheel and said he was going to flip the bus. Several passengers wrestled with the suspect as the driver was trying to stop the bus, patrol spokesman Doug McCleve said.

"That's what allowed the bus driver to get it over to the side of the road," he said. "It may have saved a real tragedy here."

The man had been ranting about hijackings before the attack, McCleve said.

He said it is not clear if the couple had a weapon, although some of the passengers said the they threatened them with a bomb.

The two suspects got out of the bus, which had stopped about 15 miles east of Salt Lake City, and were picked up by another vehicle, McCleve said.

"We believe it was someone they knew," McCleve said.

Officers ran a bomb-sniffing dog through the bus to look for explosives. An initial check turned up no bomb, McCleve said.

Greyhound officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, a Croatian man slashed the neck of a Greyhound bus driver in Tennessee, causing a crash that killed seven passengers.

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