Man hijacks CapMetro bus in South Austin


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist DAVID GARDNER

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 22 at 6:25 PM

BASTROP, Texas -- More information was released Monday about the man police say hijacked a Capital Metro bus and led officers on a 30-mile chase.

According to Capital Metro, the incident began around 4:30 p.m. Saturday in South Austin. Off-duty bus operator Salvador Martinez ordered a bus driver and two passengers off a bus at a stop near Thaxton Road.

Martinez then led police on a chase before authorities shot out the tires of the bus. The incident ended at an AutoZone store on Highway 71 in Bastrop. Police found Martinez dead inside the bus from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Martinez had worked for Capital Metro since 1998, most recently for contractor McDonald Transit since August 2012. Martinez was suspended in February.

Bastrop County Jail records show on February 2nd, Martinez was arrested and charged with DWI and evading arrest. He was released that day.

“He had a possibility of coming back to work,” said Steve Keiper, the general manager of McDonald Transit. “He had to get clarification on the issue he was dealing with and present it to us.”

All Capital Metro buses have safety features in case of an emergency.

“One of them is a panic button that they can press to contact dispatch,” said Capital Metro spokesperson Francine Pares. “They also have radios that they can use with dispatch.” 

The bus driver in this case was unable to use either during the busjacking. 

“She did not use the silent alarm because of the way the individual confiscating the bus was situated,” Keiper said.

Keiper said it was safer for everyone to leave the bus and call authorities outside the bus, which the driver did do.

Marshall Bowie says he’s on Capital Metro buses almost every day, and won't let an incident like this keep him from riding the bus.

“I've seen plenty of stuff happen,” said Bowie. “It's going to happen if you're driving a car, people are going to do it anyway.”

This isn't the first time a Capital Metro employee has taken their life on board a bus. Another off-duty bus driver who had been suspended fatally shot himself on a bus last July.