|HOME | US EDITION | REPORT|
November 13, 1999
Driver Hijacks His Own Bus
A P Kamath
For two years he has worked for a Vancouver bus company, Vikram Menon was known for his cool temperament, friendliness and a ready desire to help his fellow drivers. Passengers who took the airport- bound bus service appreciated his courtesy and cheerful nature.
On Wednesday evening when the police called the bus company to announce that one of its buses was hijacked and was heading for the American border, fellow workers offered prayers not only for the passengers but also for Menon.
Two hours later, after nearly 20 police officers in 15 cars chased the bus for over 10 miles as it entered the United States through the open border, Menon's wife and co-workers heard the news they could not believe.
According to the police 37-year-old Menon not only hijacked the bus himself but also sent a false message that a group of men with machine guns had hijacked it.
And when the bus came to a halt, and the police found Menon holding a woman hostage, they ordered him to release her.
He would not let her go, police said.
They stormed the bus, forced a few windows and door open, as Menon began tightening his grip on the woman's throat, causing her to faint.
Menon and the woman were both taken to a nearby hospital. While the woman, who was being treated for minor injuries was discharged in a few hours, Menon was taken to a jail near Bellingham, an American border town.
Charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, he faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted. He could also be ordered psychiatric evaluation.
Anne Drennan, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson in British Columbia, confirmed that Menon, while speeding away from Canada at 60 miles per hour, had sent a message to the police that the bus had been hijacked and that he was "directed to go to the US border".
There are rumors that the woman passenger, whose name has not been released, stepped on to the brakes, forcing the bus to stop in the middle of the road.
The woman later told the police that there was a man besides her on the bus that was bound for Vancouver airport.
Menon stopped the bus near a train station saying that he had to go to the bathroom; he returned a few minutes later, and asked the man to help him fix a flat tire. Menon then jumped into the bus, closed the door and began driving it out of the town.
The female passenger reportedly tried to plead with Menon to stop the bus but he began muttering about wanting to get out of Canada.
Menon's co-workers and bosses cannot understand how the man who seemed to have no complaint against anyone could suddenly snap.
Even police officials on both sides of the border are perplexed.
They will wait for a psychiatrist's report in understanding more about the man who was, till the other day, considered the most exemplary worker could concoct such a bizarre plan.
SINGLES | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | MONEY
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK