Brisbane bus driver’s panic button leads to police rescue
A BRISBANE driver was patiently sitting on his bus and waiting for his shift to start when a man, allegedly high on ice, stormed the vehicle and told him to start driving.
The driver, after allegedly being threatened by the man, agreed with his demands and started snaking up and down the streets of Fortitude Valley just after 5pm on Wednesday night.
What the alleged offender didn't realise was that the driver had managed to hit a panic button with his foot and the front screen of the bus was emblazoned with an urgent message.
"Help call police!" the message read.
A number of people who saw the message on the bus did just that and 15 minutes later, police managed to stop the bus in the Brisbane suburb of Spring Hill.
Police allege the man began smashing his head against a glass window and eventually had to be tasered by police in order to subdue him.
"He had lacerations to his head, he had to be tasered by police because of his behaviour," a Queensland Police spokesman told the Courier Mail.
"He was then taken to hospital but was then released," the spokesman added.
"The bus is an absolute mess, broken windows and blood everywhere," Tom Brown, a representative from Queensland's Rail, Tram and Bus Union, told 7 News.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk praised the driver's quick-thinking and said the police arrest meant the city's decision to increase bus security was working.
"Fortunately in this case, the system has worked well. He's pressed the duress button and police have intercepted," Mr Quirk said.
Brisbane City Council has spent close to $2 million on safety measures for both bus drivers and passengers.
Drivers have been given extensive training to deal with potentially difficult or harmful situations and all buses have been fitted with CCTV and panic buttons.
The driver, who told police he thought he had been caught up in a terror attack, is undergoing counselling.
"He was directing him, so it seems like the bus driver himself felt threatened ... just because of his behaviour, he was quite erratic by the sound of it," a Queensland Police spokesman told the Courier Mail.
A lawyer for the 27-year-old West End man appeared in court yesterday afternoon and said his client was undergoing a mental health assessment.
Wayde Harley Stevens, the alleged offender, is due to face court next week.
He is charged with possession of a dangerous drug as well as wilful damage and was remanded in custody.