St. Albans man faces up to 15 years in prison for allegedly hijacking MTA bus and crashing it in Cambria Heights: DA

hijacking an MTA bus
A St. Albans man was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Saturday for hijacking an MTA bus and threatening the driver with an apparent firearm, which turned out to be a BB gun, according to prosecutors. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

A St. Albans man was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail after bringing chaos to the streets of southeast Queens last week by allegedly hijacking an MTA bus while threatening the driver with a handgun, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Dwayne Gaddy, 44, of 201st Place, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Eugene Guarino on a 10-count indictment charging him with grand larceny, robbery, reckless endangerment and other crimes for allegedly commandeering a Q4 bus on Linden Boulevard, setting off a chain of events. Approximately 30 passengers fled the bus before Gaddy compelled the driver to keep driving. Eventually, the driver escaped through a window, and Gaddy took the wheel. Gaddy allegedly lost control and crashed into a utility pole, causing a blackout in Cambria Heights.

According to the charges, at around 7:30 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 27, Gaddy ran in front of the eastbound Q4 on Linden Boulevard while carrying a black bag and blocked the path of the vehicle. Gaddy allegedly demanded to be let on board shouting, “Let me on the bus. They are trying to kill me!”

When the bus driver refused, Gaddy produced what appeared to be a firearm — which turned out to be a BB gun — and pointed it at the vehicle. The bus driver opened the door, allowing him on board, at which point Gaddy allegedly walked up and down the aisle while waving the weapon. According to surveillance video investigators retrieved from inside the bus, the driver is seen opening the doors so that the passengers could escape, likely preventing further harm, as Gaddy stood next to the driver holding the weapon and directing the driver where to go during the next 14 minutes.

(Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

According to the criminal complaint, Gaddy stated, “Please help me. They are trying to kill me. Just drive. No, I don’t want to go to Francis Lewis. They are all over Francis Lewis. They are trying to kill me over this girl.”

While under duress, the driver made a right turn onto 235th Street, another right onto 118th Avenue, and then a right onto 231st Street, all at Gaddy’s direction to avoid the individuals “in passing cars” that were trying to kill him. At one point, he allegedly stated, “I need the police!”

According to the complaint, as the driver continued northbound on 231st Street, Gaddy saw an elderly man walking on the sidewalk and shouted, “That is one of them. He’s pointing a gun at the bus.”

The driver tried to reason with the defendant for several blocks, saying that the man was not holding anything and Gaddy responded by saying, “You’re working with them. What are you doing with your hand? Why is your window open?” As the Q4 bus approached the Linden Boulevard intersection, the operator jumped out of the driver’s side window and landed on the street, causing bruising to his elbow and hip, lacerations and abrasions to his arm and finger and substantial pain, according to the complaint.

The bus continued rolling down the street and Gaddy is seen on video surveillance jumping into the driver’s seat just before the bus crashed into a utility pole in front of the Cambria Center for the Gifted Child, resulting in the loss of power to 850 customers, according to Con Edison. According to the complaint, Gaddy dropped the BB gun next to the driver’s seat before exiting the bus, which sustained approximately $50,000 worth of damages.

When police took Gaddy into custody across the street from the wrecked bus, he allegedly told them, “When I ran on the bus I notified the bus driver I’m in trouble, I need assistance. The bus driver said, ‘Oh wow, don’t worry about it. come on,’” according to the complaint. “I called 911 numerous times while on the bus. I did not pull a gun, no gun on nobody. He said, ‘Do you have a gun?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not a real firearm.’”

According to the complaint, Gaddy then told police, “He never stopped driving. He jumped out the f—ing window. He had no reason to be scared.”

The driver, a 21-year MTA veteran, was taken to Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, Nassau County, for treatment. Gaddy was taken to an area hospital and the recovered weapon used during the course of the incident was determined to be an air-soft pistol, prosecutors said.

“The alleged actions taken by this defendant not only endangered dozens of commuters, but they have also further undermined our sense of safety when using public transit,” Katz said. “This brazen lawlessness will not go unanswered in Queens County. Thankfully, the incident did not escalate further, thanks to the effort of the MTA bus driver. The defendant has been charged appropriately and faces justice in our courts.”

Judge Guarino ordered Gaddy held on $500,000 cash bail. If convicted, Gaddy faces up to 15 years in prison.