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FBI say bus attack wasn't terrorism



MANCHESTER, Tennessee (CNN) -- Greyhound Lines resumed service Wednesday afternoon, about eight hours after an attacker slit a bus driver's throat, causing a crash that killed the assailant and five passengers.

The nation's largest bus company said it was assured by the FBI that the attack was an isolated incident, not an act of terrorism.

Greyhound resumed operations at 1 p.m. EDT, according to company President Craig Lentzsch.

The company said it is implementing new security measures, including a search of all carry-on bags.

Buses were pulled off the highways shortly after the crash, which took place around 4:15 a.m. CDT near this middle Tennessee city.

"Officials have assured me that they believe this tragic accident was the result of an isolated act by a single, deranged individual," Lentzsch said.

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Witness Carly Rinearson gives her account of the attack and bus crash (Courtesy WTVF)
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"Given that information, I then consulted with the union leadership of our company, and we have concluded that it is safe to resume service for our customers, and necessary to resume service for our country."

At a news conference later in the afternoon, FBI agent R. Joe Clark said the attack was not an act of terrorism.

"Our evidence leads us to believe at this time that this was an isolated incident," Clark said.

Clark identified the attacker as 29-year-old Damir Igric, a Croatian who entered the United States in March 1999 on a 30-day visa.

The agent said Damir got on the bus Tuesday in Chicago, Illinois, the bus' departure city. He remained on board through stops in Indianapolis, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Manchester, Tennessee.

The bus' final destination was Orlando, Florida, with another intermediate stop in Atlanta, Georgia.

Clark said there were 41 people on the bus, including the driver and an associate driver.

The bus crashed after the attacker slit the driver's throat with "a razor or box cutter," then grabbed the steering wheel, sending the bus careening off Interstate 24 near Manchester, the driver reported.

Clark would not specify the weapon used, saying only that it was a "sharp instrument."

The crash occurred near the intersection of I-24 and state Highway 4, about halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga, police said.

Thirty-two people were injured, and taken to several hospitals.

The man who attacked the driver was among the dead, said Steve Deford, Coffee County 911 director. A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said an ATF agent at the scene reported the attacker had been thrown through the front window of the bus.

Officials brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to check the body for possible traces of explosives before moving it, the ATF spokesman said.

Federal officials said he was carrying a Croatian passport.

Dr. Ralph Bard, a surgeon at the Medical Center of Manchester who treated the bus driver, quoted the driver as saying the man who attacked him had asked several times about the route of the bus.

"The man came up this last time and cut his throat with what he described as either a razor or a box cutter, and then he actually grabbed the wheel and forced the bus across the median into the oncoming traffic," Bard said the driver told him.

The driver, a Greyhound veteran from Marietta, Georgia, told Bard that the man was "5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11 and 150 to 160 pounds." The attacker spoke with an accent, Bard said.

Bard said the driver never lost consciousness and was able to climb out of the wrecked bus and go for help. The driver was in good condition after surgery to treat the laceration on his neck, Bard said.

Carly Rinearson, a passenger on the bus, said in a phone call to CNN affiliate WTVF that a man kept asking if he could have her seat near the front of the bus. She said he appeared agitated and kept asking the time.

Rinearson said when she refused to give up her seat, "He just went up to the bus driver and like slit his throat."

Greyhound representative Kristin Parlsey said Greyhound had set up a number for families to call -- 800-884-2744.

Lentzsch said Greyhound would give a refund to passengers who did not want to travel Wednesday. He said the company would allow employees upset by the events to be excused from work. Amtrak offered to honor Greyhound tickets Wednesday, as space permitted.



 
 
 
 



RELATED SITES:
• Greyhound Lines, Inc.
• Manchester, Tennessee

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