A man who assaulted the driver of a moving bus on Interstate 10 fled after being partially subdued by passengers. The assailant then sprinted across the freeway into a fast-food restaurant on St. Mary’s Road, where he was arrested this morning in its walk-in freezer.
Burger King employees, fearing a robbery, called 911 at 7:20 a.m.
Tucson police Officer Dallas Wilson gave this account:
The man took a seat behind the driver upon boarding the Crucero tour bus in Phoenix.
Hours later as the bus passed through Tucson, the man hit the driver and grabbed at the steering wheel.
Other passengers pulled the man off the driver, and the assailant jumped onto I-10 through a doorway broken during the struggle.
He ran into the eatery and ducked into the freezer. Officers responding to the 911 call took Francisco J. Padilla into custody and then to a hospital for examination.
Police expect the 24-year-old Albuquerque, N.M., man will be charged with felony endangerment.
Though Burger King manager Mike Barlet, 52, declined to comment, a couple of passengers shared their sentiments.
“Heck yeah, I was scared,” Nadi Jones, 17, said as she held her year-old daughter in her arms. “It was crazy as hell.”
Another passenger, Vietnam War veteran Fred Blake, 56, summed it up: “That’s crazy, man.”