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Greyhound bus breakdown strands riders in Texas heat without water, medicine, cops say

A Greyhound bus broke down along a Texas interstate, stranding dozens of passengers for hours Thursday as the heat neared 100 degrees, media outlets report.

Cops stepped in to help in a big way, but not before tensions escalated and a bus driver had to call 911, according to a police Facebook post.

The bus had to stop along Interstate 10 in Merkel, Texas, for several hours, and some of its 37 passengers were getting “dehydrated and overheated,” police said. Most of the passengers were seniors, according to KTXS.

“A very nice state trooper that was passing by stopped by and said that they wanted to help,” Berenice Sanchez told the Abilene TV station.

Two police departments, a sheriff’s office , state troopers and emergency medical staff provided water and took the passengers to a nearby truck stop, police said.

There, the passengers had to wait for 10 hours until another bus from Dallas could arrive. When the replacement bus finally arrived, passengers couldn’t get their bags from the luggage compartment because of a mechanical problem, police said.

The driver told passengers that they would have to get the bags later, police said. Passengers got upset and that’s when the bus driver had to call the cops, police said.

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“Some passengers became irate and voiced their concerns with the driver and at some point the driver felt that they needed the assistance of law enforcement before the situation escalated any further,” Police Chief Phillip Conklin wrote in the Facebook post.

When the officers arrived and realized the predicament, they wrote down the driver’s contact information to call if the luggage compartment doors opened. Just 10 minutes after the bus left, someone at the truck stop helped police open the doors.

The officers called the bus driver in hopes the passengers could return to get their belongings, police said. However, the bus driver said policy wouldn’t allow the bus to turn around and that the bags had to stay in the bus while it was towed to Dallas, police said.

Knowing the bus was stopping in Abilene, which is about 15 miles away, officers from the Merkel and Tye police departments loaded the bags into their patrol vehicles and delivered the luggage to the bus station, police said.

“Speaking to many of these people tonight, they are truly grateful and thankful for everything our community came together and did for them today,” Conklin wrote.

A spokeswoman for Greyhound did not immediately respond to a McClatchy news group email Friday afternoon.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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