UPDATE: Gang member high on meth during bus stabbing, police say
Police say a California gang member was high on methamphetamine and on the run when he stabbed a bus driver in the throat on Wednesday, Nov. 29 near Troutdale.
Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies have arrested Robert Moran-Vasquez under suspicion of attempted murder, first and second-degree assault and 28 counts of reckless endangerment.
Police praised two other passengers — John Francisco Owens and Stephen Danca — for "rapid and heroic actions" made without regard to their own safety, which prevented further injury or peril.
It was about 20 minutes before midnight when Vasquez approached Greyhound bus driver Clinton Lawson and demanded to be let off the bus speeding down Interstate 84.
"If you don't let me off the bus, I'll kill you," Moran-Vasquez said, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The 32-year-old grabbed for the wheel and then stabbed Lawson in the throat, giving the driver a 2-to-3-inch gouge near his trachea.
Danca rushed toward the front of the bus, and was allegedly stabbed once in the face and once in the back by Moran-Vasquez.
Owens, who was traveling to Alabama, reached for his own knife and stabbed Moran-Vasquez once, though Owens thought it only passed through his clothing. Both passengers forced Moran-Vasquez off the bus after it came to a stop at Exit 18 near Lewis and Clark State Park. The driver locked the door behind them.
After police arrived, Moran-Vasquez told Deputy Scott Shropshire that his many tattoos signify membership in the "Southside 13" gang of California.
"I'm on the run," Moran-Vasquez admitted, according to court docs. "I stabbed (the driver) ... I wanted to make him crash."
Lawson's wife praised the Woodburn resident for maintaining control of the vehicle during an interview with KOIN 6 News, an Outlook media partner.
"He's just my hero, I mean, that probably sounds corny, but he really is," Phyllis Lawson said. "He's an amazing man, I wish there were more words I could use."
An ambulance took those injured to a local hospital, according to a press announcement.
The 25 or so other passengers on board were transported by TriMet bus to the Troutdale Policing Community Center and were eventually picked up by a second Greyhound bus.
Moran-Vasquez has a warrant in Indiana for misdemeanor hit-and-run, and was previously convicted in California of carrying a concealed dagger, taking a vehicle without consent, possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to sell, and attempting to dissuade a witness from testifying with the threat of force, according to booking records.