PHOENIX - A passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Arizona "went berserk" and attacked the driver early Thursday , causing the bus to swerve violently and go off the highway before other passengers subdued him, witnesses and authorities said.
People were thrown from their seats after the California man, who reportedly was hallucinating, screamed "Everybody's going to die," grabbed the wheel and pummeled the driver. More than half of the roughly 40 passengers were hurt, including three who were airlifted to a Phoenix hospital.
"Everybody is jumping and flying and screaming," passenger Susana Ordinola, 48, of San Bernardino, Calif., said of the ordeal.
When the Dallas-bound bus finally stopped, the 25-year-old man and a female companion got off and ran into the desert, only to return about a half-hour later. Some passengers cursed and threw rocks at the man before paramedics stopped them.
The bus was heading east from Los Angeles on Interstate 10 when then the attack happened shortly before 2 a.m. near the community of Tonopah, about 50 miles west of Phoenix, authorities said. The speed limit in the area is 75 mph.
Ordinola says she was only two rows behind the attacker when it all took place.
"He started pulling the wheels, hitting the driver. They started fighting each other and the bus started moving like crazy," Ordinola said..
And when the bus was finally under control, Ordinola says the injuries in the bus were pretty bad.
"Everybody is on the floor lying down. In the back, people are laying down, bleeding, everything. I just wanted to get out of the bus," Ordinola said.
Another passenger onboard said during the attack it was "chaos" inside the bus.
Nicolas Urrutia Jr. suffered a sprained wrist in the accident.
He said the passenger seemed to have snapped. "All of a sudden he got confrontational with him, that's when he grabbed the steering wheel."
He added that the suspect was acting strangely. "I did get a weird feeling like there's something wrong with this guy," said Urrutia Jr.
Maquel Donyel Morris of Los Angeles is facing 48 counts of felony endangerment, 24 counts of assault and 3 counts of aggravated assault.