Bus Driver Fights Off Belligerent Passenger While Driving on OC Freeway

No passengers were injured, but the bus' radio was broken in the frenzy

By Samantha Tata and Rosa Ordaz
|  Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012  |  Updated 8:22 AM PDT
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An Orange County bus driver is being called a hero for his quick actions after an unhappy passenger tried to grab the wheel. Kim Baldonado reports from Irvine.

KNBC-TV

An Orange County bus driver is being called a hero for his quick actions after an unhappy passenger tried to grab the wheel. Kim Baldonado reports from Irvine.

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A bus driver is being hailed as hero for fighting off a belligerent passenger who tried to commandeer the bus while on the freeway, according to Orange County Sheriff’s officials.

Robert Galantine, 59, of Placentia, is in custody after trying to take control of a bus carrying almost two-dozen passengers southbound on the I-5 freeway in Irvine Sunday, said Jim Amormino with Orange County Sheriff's Department.

"I'm calling the [bus] operator a hero," Amormino said. "On the freeway, people are travelling 55, 60 mph ... a collision would have had very tragic results."

Galantine reportedly demanded the driver pull off the freeway because he passed his exit.

When the driver explained that he wasn’t supposed to get off yet, the suspect became upset and tried to steer the bus, at least twice, from the carpool lane into the adjacent traffic lane.

The suspect then grabbed the driver’s sunglasses off his face, and ripped the bus radio out of its socket when the driver tried to report the incident, authorities said.

In the frenzy, the driver was able to pull the bus off the freeway at Culver Drive, where Galantine ran into a shopping center before police found him.

He was arrested for battery and child endangerment, because two of the bus' passengers were children, police said. Galantine is being held on $200,000 bail.

No one was injured.

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