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Hijacked transit bus leads San Diego police on 2 1/2-hour pursuit

February 8, 1997

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A knife-wielding man hijacked a transit bus and led police on a 2 1/2-hour chase, careening through busy intersections before puncturing a tire on a strip of spikes officers placed in the vehicle’s path.

Cameron Taylor, 35, surrendered about 7:30 p.m. Friday. He had been ``on a four-day bender with crystal meth,″ said his brother, Gregg Taylor.

``He’s never driven a bus, doesn’t have a license even,″ Gregg Taylor said. ``He just really needed some help and I think the system finally is going to help him.″

Authorities said a police car accidentally ran over Taylor’s left foot after he surrendered, but he was not injured.

``He just brought the bus to a stop, came out and laid down on the ground, and then the officers came up and took him into custody,″ California Highway Patrol Officer Phil Constantine said.

Taylor was examined at a hospital before being taken to jail on investigation of carjacking and other charges. Bail was not immediately set.

The hijacking began about 5 p.m. when a knife-wielding Taylor forced the driver and a passenger off the bus, police said.

Much of the pursuit was shown live on television. Video from a news helicopter showed the bus careening through crowded intersections and along freeways with police cars in pursuit.

``I just prayed to God he wasn’t shot and killed,″ said Taylor’s 72-year-old mother, Betty, who shares an apartment in El Cajon with him. ``He’s not a violent person. But I could tell he’d gotten drugs and something set him off.″

Earlier in the day, Ms. Taylor said she begged police to help her son, but La Mesa police told her he seemed to be in control of himself and they had no reason to arrest him.

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