State Troopers Stop Woman Accused of Stealing Charter Bus, Joy-Riding Through Md.

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A charter bus, for scale. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A 24-year-old woman working for a Virginia-based charter bus operator went rogue Tuesday night and decided to drive through Maryland, state police say.

State troopers say Mellat Zerihun Kassa’s employer, Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation, called the police on Tuesday when Kassa, their driver, made off with a green-and-white Omni charter bus. The company evidently noticed via GPS that she wasn’t following her route or picking up any passengers, and said she wasn’t answering her phone or responding on the radio. Her supervisors wasn’t sure of why, but noted she might have been “in distress.”

Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who received the initial call, passed the word on to the state police, who sent troopers to track down and pull Kassa over. They caught up with her on northbound I-95 in Harford County.

But when they attempted to make a traffic stop, Kassa changed lanes, accelerated and drove away, police said. From there, she allegedly continuing the chase, switching from lane to lane to pass slower cars.

The chase finally came to a halt at the Millard Tydings Memorial Bridge toll plaza at the edge of the Susquehanna River, leading into Cecil County. Police say Kassa “stopped as she was in a lane designed only for passenger vehicles.” When they told her to hop out, she complied and was arrested without incident.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and no cars were damaged.

Authorities were holding Kassa in the Harford County Detention Center as of Friday morning. She was served with a warrant from Prince William County, Va.; court records show she pleaded guilty to improper driving, a step down from reckless driving in Virginia. She was also charged with being a fugitive from justice in Maryland.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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