Discuss as:

'Hero' bus driver staves off irate passenger

A California bus driver is being hailed as a hero for fighting off a belligerent passenger who tried to commandeer his vehicle. KNBC-TV's Kim Baldonado reports.

A bus driver is being hailed a hero for fighting off a belligerent passenger who tried to commandeer the bus while on the freeway, according to Orange County, Calif., officials.

Robert Galantine, 59, of Placentia, Calif., is in custody after trying to take control of a bus carrying almost two dozen passengers southbound on the I-5 freeway in Irvine Sunday, said Jim Amormino with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

For more, visit NBCLosAngeles.com

"I'm calling the [bus] operator a hero," Amormino said. "On the freeway, people are traveling 55, 60 mph... a collision would have had very tragic results."


Galantine reportedly demanded the driver pull off the freeway because he passed his exit.

When the driver explained that he wasn’t supposed to get off yet, the suspect became upset and tried to steer the bus, at least twice, from the carpool lane into the adjacent traffic lane.

The suspect then grabbed the driver’s sunglasses off his face, and ripped the bus radio out of its socket when the driver tried to report the incident, authorities said.

In the frenzy, the driver was able to pull the bus off the freeway at Culver Drive. Galantine then ran into a shopping center, where police reportedly found him.

Galantine was arrested for battery and child endangerment, as two of the bus passengers were children, police said. He is being held on $200,000 bail.

No one was injured.

More content from msnbc.com and NBC News

US News on msnbc.com on Twitter and Facebook