Queens bus crash in Cambria Heights: MTA driver jumps out window to escape gunman

CAMBRIA HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) — A bus crash that toppled a utility pole in Queens Thursday was set off by an armed suspect who was holding the driver at gunpoint, according to police.

Police say a 44-year-old man ran in front of the Q4 bus with a gun in his hands near the intersection of 197th Street and Linden Boulevard in St. Albans just before 7:25 a.m. and demanded that the bus driver open the door.

The driver complied with his demands but was able to let all of the passengers off before continuing to drive, according to NYPD Deputy Chief John Clune.

Investigators say the gunman told the driver he was being chased and ordered him to drive, which he did for more than 30 blocks.

Authorities say the entire episode was captured by the MTA’s onboard surveillance cameras.

“The individual that got on the bus remained very close to the driver at all times,” said Deputy Chief Jerry O’Sullivan. “The individual appeared to be erratic. Sat directly behind the bus driver and leaned-up close to that partition the whole way. There wasn’t any room for the bus driver to exit the bus with the passengers.”

As the bus neared 232nd Street, the driver jumped out of the driver’s side window and the bus continued traveling on Linden Boulevard.

It crashed into a utility pole between 233rd and 234th streets in Cambria Heights where it finally came to a stop.

The suspect then exited the bus and ran across the street where he was arrested.

He was later identified as 44-year-old Dwayne Gaddy. He is charged with unlawful imprisonment, menacing, reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a vehicle and criminal possession of a weapon.

Video from Newscopter 7 over the scene showed the mangled pole on top of the bus and debris strewn across the roadway.

The bus driver and the suspect were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

According to the MTA, the bus operator is 55 years old and is a 21-year veteran.

“I definitely want to commend the driver for his actions,” O’Sullivan said. “He did not move the bus until everyone was off that bus. I believe the driver was calm and did a great job, up until the point of collision.”

Later at a briefing, police said the gun was, in fact a BB gun.

Gaddy was captured earlier on surveillance video trying to flag a bus while holding a backpack and reaching into his pocket.

Con Edison said 855 customers were left without power at one point after the crash.

Power has since been restored.

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