A 32-year-old woman is accused of dousing half a dozen bus passengers with gasoline and attempting to set them on fire with a lighter, authorities said Monday.
A passenger on board the Area Transportation Authority bus was able to stop the woman's efforts. The bus driver had already used an on-board alert system to notify ATA officials about her growing concerns about the woman's behavior.
Kansas City police officers arrested the woman, who they said was armed with a knife. No charges have been file.
The ordeal began about 5:30 a.m. Monday as the bus traveled on Truman Road near Prospect Avenue. About two dozen passengers were on board the bus at the time.
Authorities said the woman got into a dispute with a man, who was also a passenger, about a seat. A fight ensued, police said.
The woman then pulled a small plastic bottle from her purse and began pouring liquid from it on passengers who sat nearby her, police said. One passenger smelled gasoline.
The bus driver pulled over as a passenger stopped the woman from setting the fumes ablaze, authorities said.
The woman complained of stomach pains and she was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, police said.
Paramedics checked out the bus passengers, but none were taken to the hospital. The fuel stained the six passengers' clothing, which smelled strongly of gasoline, police said.
A police report said the knife recovered was "a large fixed-blade knife."
Detectives are reviewing surveillance video of the incident.
Bus drivers are trained to be mentally prepared for anything.
B.J. Garcia, who oversees safety for the ATA, said bus operators must be prepared for the unexpected because it's impossible to train for every possible scenario. The investigation is ongoing, but ATA officials believe the bus operator acted appropriately.
"Her duty was to secure the bus, get the passengers off and make sure they were at a safe distance. And she absolutely did that," Garcia said.
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