Arrest papers: Suspect in Greyhound crash claimed passengers were trying to kill him
A man armed with a knife allegedly tried to attack a Greyhound bus driver and took over the steering wheel just before crashing on northbound I-25 Monday evening.
Edmundo Arellanes-Audelo, 47, faces a laundry list of charges: felony criminal mischief, hindering public transportation, felony menacing with a weapon, assault and reckless endangerment.
Police say Arellanes-Audelo attacked the driver as the bus approached the South Academy exit (135), then grabbed the steering wheel.
According to witness accounts recorded in Arellanes-Audelo's arrest affidavit, the suspect claimed he'd been kidnapped and that people on the bus were trying to kill him.
Another passenger told police the suspect knocked the bus driver off the seat, and that the driver "had fallen on the ground and was fighting back at the same time he had one hand on the steering wheel to keep it from rolling off the side of the road."
That passenger rushed to the front of the bus to help and told police he saw the suspect try to stab the driver.
Despite the driver's efforts, the bus veered off the road.
"Out of nowhere I just hear a loud bang and the bus starts swiveling, and then I feel the guardrail pressing up against the front of the bus, and I'm holding onto the front seat for my life," said Marqus Cano, another one of the passengers on the bus.
After the crash, witnesses said the suspect broke the bus' door and tried to crawl out.
Nathaniel Barrett-Frieson was driving past the crash and ran to help the people on board, not knowing the chaos he was running into.
"There was an individual right by the door who is screaming, 'They are killing me! They are killing me!' He was trying to get off the bus and another guy with a knife is yelling at him, and they just kept going back and forth so I told them, 'I'm armed, don't make me draw, you stay where you are and you stay where you are,'" Nathaniel Barrett-Frieson told 11 News.
Barrett-Frieson then held Arellanes-Audelo at gunpoint until police arrived. Despite the earlier chaos, he was reportedly taken into custody without further incident.
According to the affidavit, Arellanes-Audelo told police he had been traveling peacefully when three people on board tried to attack him with a knife and that's why he was trying to escape the bus. He claimed he recognized them as associates of a group trying to kill his family in Mexico.
In a later interview, police say the suspect altered the story and claimed passengers on the bus showed him a video of someone killing his family. He said he then noticed the bus was swerving, got up, and grabbed the steering wheel to help the driver right the vehicle.
Officers recorded in the affidavit that they tried to get Arellanes-Audelo to tell him more about the video of his family, but at that point he shut down and said he wanted a lawyer.
A handful of passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash.