A man authorities believe was hallucinating while under the influence of drugs allegedly attacked the driver of a Greyhound bus on its way from Los Angeles to Phoenix early Thursday, causing the driver to crash and sending two dozen people to area hospitals.
Maquel Donyel Morris, 25, allegedly attacked the driver at about 1:45 a.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway near Tonopah, about 50 miles west of Phoenix, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
"He was hallucinating ... we believe he was very high," said agency spokesman Bart Graves.
When Morris allegedly attacked the driver, passengers quickly came to the driver's aid and they were able to stop the bus from entering oncoming traffic, authorities said.
Instead, the bus slammed into a dirt median separating the two sides of the freeway, Graves said, adding that there were about 50 people onboard.
Another spokesman added that the dirt median is not smooth and that the injuries may have resulted from the bus bouncing along it.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, initial reports that the bus rolled over "are not true."
Twenty-one passengers were taken by ambulance to hospitals and three passengers were airlifted -- one of whom tried to help subdue Morris, another who suffered lower-body fractures and another with a back injury.
After the wreck, Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said Morris and his girlfriend fled into the desert, only to return a half-hour later where Highway Patrol officers were waiting to arrest them.
Morris faces 48 counts of felony endangerment, 24 counts of assault and three counts of aggravated assault, although Graves said more charges could be added.
A spokesman for Greyhound did not immediately return requests for comment.
[Updated 7:35 a.m. PST Jan. 23: Greyhound spokeswoman Alexandra Pedrini said there were 42 people on board the bus, including the driver, and that 26 passengers were injured. Pedrini said at least eight of those injured have been treated and released from the hospital. In addition to the police investigation, Greyhound would be conducting its own internal investigation, she added.]
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