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Man Charged in Attack on Driver than Crashed Bus

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Man Charged in Attack on Driver That Crashed Bus and Killed 2


SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 1 — The authorities today charged a 27-year-old man on two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder following the stabbing of the driver of a Greyhound bus traveling from Los Angeles on a rural stretch of Interstate 5.

Two passengers aboard the San Francisco-bound bus were killed in a crash Monday night, after the injured driver lost control of the vehicle. The bus veered off the freeway and slid on its side into a field about 55 miles southwest of Fresno, the authorities said. The names of the dead were not immediately released.

The authorities said the man, Arturo Tapia Martinez, was arrested trying to flee the scene of the crash. A spokesman for the Fresno County sheriff's department, Lt. Nelson Beazley, said Mr. Martinez had boarded the bus in Los Angeles but had no known address and had offered conflicting explanations for the stabbing.

Lieutenant Beazley said investigators believed that Mr. Martinez acted alone. He apparently is not related to one passenger, Rachel Martinez, among three people in addition to the driver who were critically injured. A pair of scissors believed to have been used in the stabbing was recovered from the bus.

The authorities said the attack was apparently unprovoked and not related to terrorism. It was similar to an incident last Oct. 3 involving a Greyhound bus on Interstate 24 near Manchester, Tenn. In that attack, six people died, including the assailant.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, Greyhound officials instituted a series of security measures, including random screening of passengers and carry-on luggage at many bus terminals around the country. A Greyhound spokeswoman, Lynn Brown, said 40 percent of the buses in Los Angeles on Monday were screened for illegal and sharp objects, but the San Francisco-bound bus was not among them.

"As today's incident underscores, there is more to be done," Ms. Brown said. "We want to do more."

The driver, identified by hospital officials as Abe Hernandez, 50, received stab wounds to the neck and was listed in stable condition at the University Medical Center in Fresno. Twenty-six passengers were also taken to local hospitals. By late today, all but three had been treated and released, Ms. Brown said.

Greyhound would not confirm the identity of the driver or release information about his driving record. "That is the company's private information," Ms. Brown said.

Passengers told investigators that Mr. Martinez had rushed toward the driver from the back of the bus sometime before 9 p.m. Many of the other 49 passengers were apparently asleep or caught off guard because the incident happened so fast. Ms. Brown said the bus driver was equipped with a cellphone to report problems, but never used it because Mr. Martinez had not shown aggressive behavior before stabbing him.

"I thought something was wrong when I saw the guy go up to the front of the bus," one passenger, Mike McClure, told The Fresno Bee. "I remember seeing the guy from the back of the bus and the bus swerving back and forth and the bus going out of control."

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