Court records: Suspect in Greyhound bus crash took meth

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by Christina O'Haver

azfamily.com

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 12:40 PM

TONOPAH, Ariz. -- A man who allegedly attacked a Greyhound bus driver and caused a crash near Tonopah that injured multiple people had taken methamphetamine earlier that day, according to court documents.

Maquel Donyel Morris, 25, is in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office custody, after being turned over by the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Friday. Deputies were watching Morris as he underwent treatment at Maricopa Medical Center and booked him into the Fourth Avenue Jail upon his release from the hospital.

Morris is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal damage and 25 counts of endangerment. His bond was set at $150,000.

About 1:46 a.m. Thursday, a Greyhound bus crashed while traveling east on Interstate 10 near milepost 87. DPS says it was en route from California to Tennessee.

The bus driver told authorities he received reports from passengers about a young man, later identified as Morris, acting strangely. The driver reportedly stopped the bus in Quartzsite and spoke to Morris, who assured him there would be no problems. Morris was traveling with his 20-year-old girlfriend.

About an hour later, Morris reportedly kicked open the door separating the passenger and driver compartments of the bus and yelled at the driver that he wanted to get off. He allegedly attacked the driver and took control of the wheel.

A passenger reported hearing Morris threaten to flip the bus.

The driver told authorities that he called for help and several passengers tried to subdue Morris.

During the struggle, the bus entered a median and traveled about 500 yards. The driver said the bus bounced several times before coming to a stop just a few feet from the westbound lanes of Interstate 10.

According to court documents, a detective reviewed the surveillance footage from the bus, which corroborated with witnesses' accounts of the incident.

Court records say 20 passengers were transported to Valley hospitals by ground and three were airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. There were reportedly 50 people on board including Morris, the driver and an infant.

Damage to the bus reportedly exceeded $10,000.

Morris reportedly exhibited other bizarre behavior at the scene. Court documents say he was screaming the entire time, asking passing motorists for help and saying there were guns in the bus and patrol car.

Morris' girlfriend, who declined an on-camera interview, said he was "paranoid" and "did not want to be on the bus." The Department of Public Safety said she is cooperating with the investigation as a witness.

According to court records, Morris did not have any identification with him at the time and verbally identified himself.

Morris lives in Los Angeles and has family and friends in Tennessee, court records say. Authorities do not believe he has ties to Arizona.

He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 30.

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