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Bus Chase Ends In Illinois With Armed Passenger Arrested, 40 Passengers Released

January 13, 2018


Photo Credit-WISN.com Milwaukee ABC Channel 12

Blog by Mike Keleher

On Friday night, January 12, 2018 a bus travelling from Milwaukee to Chicago was identified as having an armed passenger on board along with a hostage situation. A large police response ended the chase near the Illinois state border, and stop-sticks were deployed to disable the bus. The I-94 interstate was shut down in both directions. One passenger was arrested and forty passengers were recovered and released.

Few official details were released overnight about the incident, but interstate travelers posted live time photos and videos via social media about the event. As you may imagine, many people commented via a Facebook application, the “Lake and McHenry County Scanner” on the need to have Kenau Reeves available to handle all bus/police action and please, please don’t release any more “Speed” movie sequels.

What if you were riding the bus? These vehicles present very challenging scenarios for police intervention. You are pretty much stuck inside until the driver or bad guy lets you out. I previously attended some training presented by a former British SAS commando on “Linear Assault” or “Tubular Assault” that was quite illuminating. Buses, airplanes and train cars are all tubes with very limited means to enter or exit.

If police or military forces have to assault and make forced entry into one of these tubes it requires special training and equipment to do it with any degree of success. You can’t just make entry armed with your righteous indignation and terrible swift sword and expect to be successful.

If the bus driver is prevented from opening the exit door, breaching is difficult and dangerous to everyone inside and outside the vehicle because it takes time, and all those big windows give terrific viewing advantage to a bad guy inside.

You are probably aware of the term “fatal funnel” applied to doorways. If armed and hostile bad guys are inside, doorways are extremely dangerous areas to pass through since you are funneled into those choke points and must pass through them. While in the doorway, you are framed perfectly as a target and anyone pointing a gun generally in the direction of the door frame can hardly miss such a large and obvious target. Get out of the damn doorway.

If police have to make entry to a bus that has only one door, or you as a passenger would like to exit that bus door along with 40 other excited, options are very limited. Commercial buses most likely won’t have windows that slide open, and side windows are probably a shatter resistant polycarbonate material not glass. There should be a marked emergency exit, but it won’t be very easy to access and a lot of people may be similarly inclined to try and use it all at the same time.

What if you become a hostage or are just stuck dealing with the situation and you can’t leave because of some idiot’s criminal issues? Then be a good hostage. Comply with demands, remain calm, stay low and don’t make eye contact. I don’t care how many action movies you have seen, or how vast your mad ninja skills are, you are not very bullet resistant.

The beginning of any armed take over is very chaotic and thus more dangerous to everyone. If no one is being harmed, then comply, observe and report if you can via cell or text. The large majority of take over incidents end well-cold comfort in the moment, but true.

Take stock of the situation and gather data. If people are being shot, then your days as being a good and compliant hostage are over. All bets are off at that point. You may have to save your own life and the lives of others.

Many of the social media comments cited “If only there had been a good guy with a gun on board.” Well that could make a huge difference, but in last night’s scenario the bus originated in Minnesota, travelled to Wisconsin and was to end in Chicago. Illinois, the last state in the nation to grant concealed carry permits, has such stringent concealed carry laws it does not recognize or grant reciprocity to anyone from neighboring states.

So, you could not get on a commercial carrier with a CCW permit and travel interstate to get into Illinois unless Minnesota and Wisconsin honored your Illinois permit. If you are a resident of any state other than Illinois, then the Land of Lincoln has assumed the moral stance “our laws are better than everybody else’s laws” and you are out of luck.

Greyhound has their own set of rules, and they don’t care about anyone’s concealed carry status-no guns allowed in the cabin of the bus. On their website, they also list no knives, flare guns, cricket bats, swords, ice axes or spear guns either, so there go most of your other good ideas.

Generally, there are improvised weapons at hand, but travelling by motor coach with limited carry-on items and limited mobility to get access to stored bags make even improvised weapons hard to come by.

Now I know every gentleman and lady has a pocket knife when they leave home, but if it is not plastic or rounded edge Greyhound does not want you to bring it on board! Tactical pens or even regular pens can stab and poke and items found adrift can be thrown. Bags can be used as ad-hoc shields but are not any more bullet proof than you are. Heavy items like a can or bottle of soda, coins, flashlight or cell phone can be put into a sock and used as blackjack. Desperate times deserve desperate measures as they say, and these are last ditch items. Comply if you can, but if the situation turns deadly, then you must survive and win through speed and violence of action.

To quote my friend, firearms instructor Todd Manker, “At that point it’s like you are the third monkey waiting to get onto Noah’s Ark, and brother it is starting to rain. Fight like you mean it.”