A prison bus traveling from a prison in Gatesville to Huntsville in Leon County, Texas, crashed Thursday after an inmate managed to free himself from his shackles, attack the driver and flee from the vehicle.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was convicted of capital murder and attempted murder in 2006 and has been serving a life sentence ever since.
On Thursday, while being transported to a medical appointment, he somehow freed himself and got into the driver’s compartment, stabbing the driver — an officer — in the hand and chest with an unknown object, according to Today.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is searching for an escaped inmate in Leon County. 46 year old Gonzalo Lopez assaulted a correctional officer on a transport bus & then fled from the vehicle. pic.twitter.com/FTa2Dl8fQv
— TDCJ (@TDCJ) May 12, 2022
As the two struggled, the driver pulled the bus to the side of the road. Lopez also managed to wrest away the driver’s gun, but wasn’t able to get it out of the holster, according to KBTX-TV.
The officer in the rear of the bus also shot out the bus’ back tires. Lopez attempted to drive the bus anyway but only made it a mile or so before losing control, crashing the bus on the side of the road and making a run for it.
The incident has triggered an intense manhunt for Lopez, and the public has been put on high alert.
“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is searching for an escaped inmate in Leon County,” TDCJ shared on Facebook.
“Multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for the inmate near Highway 7 westbound in Leon County approximately 1.5 miles from Interstate 45.
“Lopez is serving a life sentence for capital murder out of Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder out of Webb County. If you spot Lopez, immediately contact 911 and do not approach him.”
The driver sustained minor injuries during the scuffle, and the officer at the rear of the bus was fine.
As time ticks on and Lopez has not been found, TDCJ has announced a large reward for the convict, who they believe is in or around Centerville.
“A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of escapee Gonzalo Lopez,” TDCJ posted on Friday.
“Please contact TDCJ OIG CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171 or your local law enforcement agency at 911.”