Unruly Greyhound passenger tries to overpower driver; two people arrested

Thursday, October 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Passengers on a Greyhound bus overpowered a hijacker who grabbed the steering wheel and threatened to flip the vehicle, authorities said.

The man and a woman accomplice fled after the driver safely stopped the bus. Two people were later taken into custody early Thursday.

No one was injured.

Troopers arrested suspects Troy Matzek, 34, and Becky Hyde, 25, of Wichita, Kan., said Highway Patrol Sgt. Daniel Fuhr. The unarmed couple gave themselves up at a downtown Salt Lake City truck stop.

The Utah Highway Patrol described the incident as an attempted hijacking.

Bus driver Gene Savage told television station KUTV that he kicked the man away after he grabbed the steering wheel. Several passengers wrestled with the hijacker as Savage stopped the bus, said Doug McCleve, spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol.

``That's what allowed the bus driver to get it over to the side of the road,'' he said. ``It may have saved a real tragedy here.''

The man and woman got out of the bus, which had stopped about 15 miles east of Salt Lake City, and flagged down a passing car, McCleve said.

The driver took them to a gas station, and the couple stopped traffic and jumped into a truck a truck claiming their lives were in danger.

The truck driver called 911 while the two were in the cab, Fuhr said.

``Apparently they weren't aware what was going on,'' Fuhr said.

The man had been ranting about hijackings before the attack, McCleve said.

It is not clear if he had a weapon, although some of the passengers said he had threatened them with a bomb, McCleve said.

A check of the bus turned up no explosives, he said.

The bus was bound from Portland, Ore., to Nashville, Tenn., with 44 passengers aboard said Greyhound spokeswoman Jamille Bradfield, who characterized the man as an ``unruly passenger,'' rather than a hijacker.

Earlier this month, a Croatian man slashed the neck of a Greyhound bus driver in Tennessee, causing a crash that killed seven passengers.