2 dead after bus driver attacked

Kim Baca The Associated Press
Tuesday October 01, 2002

FRESNO — At least two people died and dozens of bus passengers were injured Monday night after a Greyhound driver’s throat was slashed and his bus overturned while traveling 70 miles-per-hour on Interstate 5 near western Fresno. 

“This was not an accident,” Lt. Johnson said. Authorities said one man, possibly aided by another, rose from their seats and attacked the driver with a knife. 

There were at least two people confirmed dead, one of them the driver, and several others injured, authorities said. Emergency crews are being flown to the scene of the crash. 

The attack and crash left the bus rolled over on its side in a field about 50 feet off the side of I-5 at about 8:35 p.m. The bus overturned near Coalinga, a town about 30 miles west of Fresno, as it traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco. 

The man who allegedly attacked the bus driver had been arrested, Lt. Johnson said. There was no word late Monday on the motive might have been for the attack. 

The freeway was closed to northbound traffic by 10 p.m. at the spot of the accident along the heavily traveled route. 

The Fresno Sheriff’s Department was leading the investigation late Monday. 

As emergency crews arrived, they quickly found two dead, 10 people critically injured, and dozens other with various levels of minor injuries from the crash. 

The bus came to rest in a remote portion on Interstate 5 near western Fresno. There was no immediate word if other vehicles were involved as the bus crashed. 

The California Highway patrol was busy at the scene, directing traffic away from the crash site. A CHP spokesman confirmed that one man had been arrested in connection with the attack, and there was some concern the alleged attacker may have had an accomplice. 

“That’s also under investigation as to whether there were more than one,” said CHP spokesman Tom Marshall. 

Gov. Gray Davis was busy signing bills in Sacramento and was in contact with emergency officials regarding the crash. He asked state officials to work with local investigators in looking into the attack and crash, said Steve Mavigilo, Davis’ spokesman.