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Man arrested for allegedly assaulting SamTrans bus drivers, attempting carjacking

Foot chase with police ends at Stanford Shopping Center
Traffic is at a stop though the light is green at the cross street of Willow Road and Durham Street in Menlo Park just before 4 p.m. on September 28, 2018. Photo by Magali Gauthier // The Almanac

Palo Alto police arrested a man last week after he allegedly assaulted two bus drivers, fled from officers and attempted to carjack someone stopped in traffic.

The 26-year-old man allegedly attempted to force open the doors of an out-of-service SamTrans bus near the intersection of Quarry Road and Arboretum Road, which is next to the Stanford Shopping Center, on Thursday, March 9, police said in a press release.

The driver ordered him to leave the bus, which he did after being told multiple times, police said. The original driver flagged down a second driver for help. The suspect then spat in the original driver's face and lunged at the second driver, wrapping his arms around the driver, police said.

The driver was able to shove the man off of him and neither driver was injured, according to police.

Palo Alto police got a call from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Transit Police Bureau at 4:48 p.m., reporting an incident on a SamTrans bus. The call was later updated to include that the driver was battered, according to the press release.

A police officer saw the suspect running onto Vi at Palo Alto's property, a retirement community at 620 Sand Hill Road, and detained him "without incident," police said. The man offered the officer a "pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine" and appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, police said.

Other police officers interviewed the two bus drivers and were told that the suspect had battered both drivers. When police attempted to handcuff the man, he ran away, police said.

As police chased after him, he entered an occupied blue 2011 BMW sedan that was stopped in traffic on Vineyard Lane at Sand Hill Road through the passenger side door and grabbed the steering wheel, police said. With officers approaching, he got out of the car and continued to run, according to police.

He was ultimately apprehended in the parking lot to the west of Neiman Marcus at Stanford Shopping Center, where he was taken into custody "after a brief physical struggle," according to the police press release.

The 26-year-old man and officers weren't injured, but paramedics were called to the scene because the suspect's breathing appeared labored, police said. The Palo Alto Fire Department evaluated the suspect and cleared him.

Once the suspect reached the police station, he said that he had issues with his heart, so police called paramedics again. Firefighters took him to a hospital for evaluation, where he was cleared to be incarcerated, police said.

The suspect gave police multiple false names, but was ultimately identified and booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony carjacking and six misdemeanor charges: two counts of battery on a transit employee, delaying a transit system, resisting arrest, providing false information to police and possession of narcotics paraphernalia.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can also be sent anonymously to or via voicemail or text message to 650-383-8984.

Editor's note: The Redwood City's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the district attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. Read our guidelines.


About the Author: Zoe Morgan

Zoe covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly /, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience reporting in California and Oregon.
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