QUEENS, NY (PIX11) — Alleged Queens bus hijacker Dwayne Gaddy faced a judge Wednesday as he was arraigned on an 11-count indictment including charges of kidnapping, grand larceny, robbery, and assault.
Gaddy, 44, pleaded not guilty during the appearance and continues to be held in lieu of $500,000 bail, online court records indicate.
The St. Albans man is accused of using a BB gun resembling a pistol to commandeer a crowded Q4 MTA bus near Linden Boulevard and 197th Street in Cambria Heights around 7:30 a.m. Oct. 27, according to authorities.
“Let me on the bus, they are trying to kill me!” Gaddy is quoted by prosecutors as telling the bus operator after running into the road to block the vehicle’s path. After the driver initially refused to open the doors, Gaddy allegedly pulled out the weapon, leading the driver to let him aboard and resume driving, officials said.
As Gaddy stood next to him, the bus operator opened the doors again a short time later, allowing the approximately 30 passengers aboard at the time to escape the bus, authorities said. He then attempted to reason with Gaddy while simultaneously working to open the driver’s side window.
After driving several more blocks, the driver escaped by diving through the window, leaving Gaddy alone aboard the bus, prosecutors said. Gaddy attempted to drive the bus, but soon lost control and crashed into a utility pole, officials said.
He was apprehended immediately and taken to a hospital. Gaddy’s fiancee previously told PIX11 News that there were signs he was having a mental health crisis shortly before the incident.
In total, Gaddy faces 11 charges: one count of kidnapping in the second degree, one count each of grand larceny in the second and fourth degree, three counts of robbery in the second degree, two counts of assault in the second degree, one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree, one count of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison. In a statement, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz vowed justice, while also hailing the bus operator, who suffered injuries to his elbow, hip, arm, and finger during the ordeal.
“If not for the quick-thinking bus driver remaining calm and collected under pressure, the outcome would have been far worse,” said Katz. “We cannot allow confidence in our public transit system to be undermined and will not let this brazen lawlessness go unanswered in Queens County. The defendant has been charged accordingly and faces justice in our courts.”
Gaddy is due back in court on Dec. 15.