WASHINGTON, D.C. - Metro Transit Police say 19-year-old William Jackson, of Washington, D.C., wearing a bus operator's uniform, walked into the bus storage area on Bladensburg Road, and drove away with bus number 9318.
Investigators believe the youth began running the B-2 route toward Anacostia, and stopped for passengers. The accused thief is apparently cooperating with investigators. "According to Mr. Jackson, all eight passengers that he picked up did pay their fare," Transit Police Captain Ronald Pavlik explained to reporters. "He simply had a fascination with buses."
The bus Jackson was driving hit some large tree limbs at the corner of 17th and Massachusetts Ave., SE. The bus kept going after the violent encounter with the tree, and that caused some witnesses to call 911. Jackson parked the bus a few blocks away, near the Potomac Avenue Metro station, and walked away. He was apprehended about a block away, wearing a bus operator's uniform and a high visibility safety vest, which are now standard issue for bus drivers.
It is unclear where the teen got the uniform. Police are also investigating how he managed to get into the bus yard where security officers are supposed to require everyone to produce a Metro ID badge.
No one was apparently injured in the adventure, although the passengers on the bus had left by the time Transit Police found the vehicle.
Jackson is charged with fleeing the scene of an accident and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
There are two gates at the Bladensburg Road bus yard. For about 15 minutes Saturday, one day after the bus theft, the side entrance was left unattended for at least 15 minutes. A Fox Five reporter walked unchallenged into the entrance.
Metro Transit Police Captain Pavlik says that's "embarrassing" and will become part of the investigation of security at bus storage facilities.
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