QUEENS (PIX11) — An armed man allegedly hijacked an MTA bus in Queens Thursday morning, causing the driver to jump from the window before the bus crashed into a utility pole, authorities said.
Police said the suspect, 44, ran in front of the Q4 bus with what appeared to be a gun before boarding the vehicle near 197th Street and Linden Boulevard just after 7:20 a.m. While the bus was stopped, authorities said the driver kept the front and back doors open so passengers could escape.
There were about 20 to 25 riders on board, according to police. They were not injured.
While on the bus, the suspect said he was being chased and told the driver to keep driving. The bus continued heading eastbound on Linden Boulevard when the driver panicked and jumped out of the driver’s side window near 232nd Street, police said.
The suspect then tried to get behind the wheel but the bus crashed into the utility pole near 233rd Street and Linden Boulevard, police said.
The bus driver, a 21-year veteran with the MTA, and the suspect were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, officials said.
“We’re thankful there were no major issues,” an MTA official said.
The suspect, who police sources said has a history of mental illness, was apprehended across the street from the crash and an imitation pistol was recovered at the scene. The charges against the suspect were pending, as of Thursday afternoon.
Con Edison said about 850 customers lost power after the incident, but most of the service has been restored.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).