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Man Slits Bus Driver's Throat in Tennessee, Causes Accident

Aired October 3, 2001 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: As we reported a little bit earlier on this morning, the Greyhound Bus Company has suspended service nationwide as a precaution, following a reported attack on a bus driver this morning that resulted in at least six deaths.

The bus was on Interstate 24 bound from Nashville to Atlanta, when a passenger slit the driver's throat. The bus ran through a median and overturned. 36 people were aboard the bus.

Helicopters took several injured people to the hospitals in Nashville to the north and Chattanooga to the south. At least one person is in critical condition, eight are in stable condition.

Carly Reinerson (ph), a passenger on the bus, said the assailant appeared agitated prior to the attack.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CARLY REINERSON (ph), BUS PASSENGER: He kept asking me and this other guy if he can have our seat, and we're like no, you can have this front seat.

And he kept asking me what time it was like every -- like so many minutes and stuff. And then he just went up to the bus driver and like, slit his throat. The bus driver turned the wheel and the bus tipped over.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ZAHN: We can confirm the FBI is now investigating the bus attack, but for now Greyhound has suspected its bus service nationwide. That covers about 2300 buses.

And in hundreds of places in the United States, it is the only means of public transportation from one town to another. But the Transportation Department, Miles, making very clear that this -- at this point doesn't seem to be any pattern.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Really can't underscore that enough. Of course the fact that Greyhound has shut down service may have raised some alarm bells, but nevertheless that is still just a precaution. A spokesman at the Department of Transportation says there is no indication it was part of any pattern of events, and we have no other event to tell you about that we know of. CNN's Major Garret has more on the federal government's response. He joins us from the north lawn of the White House. Major?

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles. Yes, that spokesman is Chet Lunner, he is the chief spokesman for the Department of Transportation, reports directly to the Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta.

He told CNN just a few moments ago this morning that, and this is the full quote, and I want everyone to be able to hear it, "[W]e," meaning the Department of Transportation, "don't have any indications throughout our system that this is a part of a pattern;" meaning throughout the system, throughout not only the bus system throughout the United States, but other transportation sectors as well.

Chet Lunner said that an emergency crisis team had been set up at the Department of Transportation since September 11th to monitor all information about transportation assets throughout the country. It had been collecting information on this crash all morning, giving it to the Transportation Secretary. And a high level response team, set up only this morning, to monitor this very situation in Tennessee.

And as of now, Chet Lunnar again says, we don't have any indications throughout our system that this is part of a pattern. Nevertheless, the Department of Transportation is at this very moment reviewing whether or not to issue a nationwide advisory to other commercial bus carriers, as to whether or not they should follow Greyhound's suit and at least temporarily suspend service. That is under review.

Chet Lunnar telling CNN that an announcement on that very subject could come later on this morning. Miles?

O'BRIEN: Well I suspect, given the nature of this event, Major, we will hear about that sooner rather than later.

GARRETT: They are going to try to work it out as fast as they can, but they are under tremendous pressure to obtain all the best information, to check with all various officials, not only in Tennessee, but through bus lines around the country. It's not an easy thing, and of course there are great risks involved either way.

If you don't issue a nationwide precaution and something happens, feel dreadful about that, you've unnecessarily exposed the public to more danger. If you do, and there is in fact no pattern, it's an isolated incident, you may have created a greater sense of alarm and panic.

It's just, as we've said over and over again, a sign of the times. The government trying to grapple, A, with information, B, with decisions; all trying to make them under very intense circumstances. Miles?

O'BRIEN: I guess the whole discussion probably hauntingly familiar to the discussion, as to whether to ground aircraft on September 11. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


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