Two killed as Greyhound bus driver has his throat slashed by passenger

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The Independent US

A Greyhound bus travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco careened out of control on a lonely stretch of highway, killing at least two people and injuring about 20 others, after a passenger walked up to the driver and slashed his neck with a pair of scissors, police said yesterday.

A Greyhound bus travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco careened out of control on a lonely stretch of highway, killing at least two people and injuring about 20 others, after a passenger walked up to the driver and slashed his neck with a pair of scissors, police said yesterday.

The bus, carrying nearly 50 passengers, skidded violently off Interstate Highway 5 near Fresno, in California's Central Valley, on Monday night and overturned as it came to a halt in a cotton field. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene, while three others, including the driver, were deemed to be in critical condition and rushed to nearby hospitals. Up to 10 people were crushed under the vehicle as it tumbled on to its side.

It was the second such attack on a Greyhound driver in a year. Like last October's attack, which took place in Tennessee, this one was described as an isolated incident unconnected to broader anxieties about terrorism.

According to witnesses, Monday night's attacker – described as a transient from the Los Angeles area – went in and out of the toilet at the back of the bus repeatedly before rushing towards the driver. The driver yelled "hey, hey, hey!" as he was attacked but apparently managed to slam on the brakes before losing control.

Police said the assault appeared to be entirely unprovoked. The suspect, named as 27-year-old Arturo Tapia Martinez, was arrested almost immediately in a sagebrush field near the crash site and booked in the Fresno County jail on two counts of murder and one of attempted murder. Unconfirmed reports suggested he had crashed through the bus windscreen on impact.

The authorities said they were investigating reports that Mr Martinez was accompanied by a possible accomplice and were working on establishing a motive. "He has told us several stories about why he did what he did," a sheriff's department official, Margaret Mims, said.

One survivor, Mike McClure of San Diego, said: "I remember seeing the guy run from the back of the bus and the bus swerving back and forth and the bus going out of control. "

Most passengers were asleep at the time of the crash.

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