ONE woman narrowly escaped death and another is nursing injuries after a Longdenville man hijacked a Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) bus and used it as a weapon ploughing into several vehicles in its path before coming to an abrupt end when it crashed into a house at Cashew Gardens, some 11.1 km away from where it was taken on Monday morning.
Not even police bullets or one of their vehicles which pulled up in front of the runaway driver in an attempt to stop his rampage, succeeded. Officers who were giving chase when the 55-year old suspect took the vehicle from the PTSC garage opposite the Chaguanas police station, were only able to intercept when he crashed into the flat, blue concrete house. They pulled him out of the stolen bus, along with the injured homeowner and took them to the district health facility before transferring them to the hospital.
The 30-minute drama started around 3 am, when the man, police believe may have mental issues, walked into the PTSC garage and commandeered the vehicle, registration number HCC 1018. Police were alerted by security on the compound, as the man drove the vehicle out of the garage and in the opposite direction on the one-way street.
Police gave chase, pulling in front of the bus to stop its reckless ride, and firing bullets as both efforts failed. The man drove under the flyover, crashing into the vehicle owned by newspaper vendor Pamela Mitchell.
Mitchell who has been selling on that spot for almost three decades narrowly escaped death as the bus crashed into her vehicle, pushing it approximately 150 feet forward into a parked garbage truck. The sudden and powerful impact also caused the garbage truck to crash into the wall of the BK building.
Mitchell was just about to offload the newspapers from her vehicle when her husband who was with her, saw the out-of-control bus careening in their direction and he told her to run.
She reacted immediately, jumping out of the way as the bus picked up her vehicle, and pushed it forward scattering her newspapers on the road. But that incident did not stop the bus driver, who drove for several more minutes before his escapade ended several miles away, where a woman identified as Carla was injured.
Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said he has ordered a full-scale investigation into how the suspect was able to enter the compound and take possession of the bus. He said he expects that the PTSC would visit the affected families.
Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodan said this incident brings to the fore the aspect of security he has been clamouring for in the Borough.
“This is a serious breach in terms of security. One of the things I am very concerned with as mayor, is the security at that compound, how that person was able to go into the compound, take a bus and just drive out recklessly,” Boodan said as he questioned if the key was left in the ignition or if the perpetrator had time to hot wire the vehicle without being detected. He said it also raises questions about liability to the people who would have suffered injuries and damage to property.
Police said the suspect would be charged with stealing state’s property when he is discharged and may have to undergo psychiatric evaluation.