Passenger Causes Arizona Bus Crash
By ANANDA SHOREY
©The Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) - A Greyhound bus that was traveling at 70 mph rolled over onto its side early
Sunday as the driver struggled with a passenger who was angered when he was told he couldn't smoke.
The wreck injured 33 people, one critically.
No other vehicles were involved.
Charles George of Phoenix, was taken into custody and charged with 37 counts of aggravated
assault, said Steve Volden, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
George, who is about 40 years old, was unarmed, Volden said.
``We believe there was some mental instability we were dealing with,'' Volden said. ``He didn't
make any overt statements about wanting to hijack the bus or doing anything in the name of religion.
It appears he was acting independently.''
The bus was on a cross-country route from Los Angeles to Miami. The struggle occurred around 1
a.m. during the Phoenix-to-El Paso leg of the trip on Interstate 10, about 50 miles south of
Phoenix, said Greyhound spokeswoman Jamille Bradfield.
The passenger was smoking a cigarette and became upset when two off-duty bus drivers riding in
the rear of the vehicle told him that he couldn't smoke, Volden said.
He went to the front of the bus and banged on the door of the bus, which was traveling at around
70 mph. Unable to open the door, the man grabbed the steering wheel and tried to take control of the
bus, Volden said. The bus went off the pavement. The driver tried to steer it back onto the highway
but the vehicle rolled over onto its side, Volden said.
It was the third such incident on a Greyhound bus in a month.
On Oct. 3, a Croatian man slashed the neck of a Greyhound bus driver in Tennessee, causing a
crash that killed seven passengers. The incident prompted Greyhound to shut down all bus service for
a few hours.
Two weeks later, passengers on a Greyhound bus were credited with averting disaster in Utah after
they helped thwart an alleged hijacker who tried to overpower the driver and threatened to flip the
vehicle. No one was injured. Bradfield said Greyhound didn't suspend bus service after Sunday's
crash because authorities believed it was an isolated incident.
One of the passengers injured Sunday was listed in critical condition, one was in good condition,
two were stable and four were treated and released, hospitals reported. Bradfield said bus driver
also was stable.
Five people on the bus weren't injured.