Authorities said Thursday that a former Army trainee who attempted to flee boot camp by hijacking a school bus full of children had attempted to escape detention again since his arrest. Jovan Collazo, 23, tried to escape prison and a hospital after being charged with keeping a bus driver at gunpoint as 18 children sat as passengers.
Man tries to escape jail twice
Authorities claimed he decked a guard in the face and broke his ankle after his failed jailbreak attempt. However, Collazo's public defender said that his client was handcuffed the entire time.
"Mr. Collazo was on suicide watch, totally naked, and bound behind his back when the incident referred to as an attempted escape occurred," the public defender told the station, as per WIS News. Collazo is expected to face new charges in addition to the two dozen already filed against him, including charges of kidnapping for taking the bus.
On May 6, the Army trainee left Fort Jackson with an Army-issued M4 rifle and attempted to block traffic on Interstate 77 before boarding a bus at a children's stop. He appeared to point his gun at driver Kenneth Corbin and yelled at him to drive, the footage revealed. But he cut his trip short after just six minutes due to nagging questions from the children.
In a recent interview with "Good Morning America," Corbin said, "In the end, I think we're on the road about four miles and he just got irritated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and get off." According to Corbin, the students, some as young as kindergarten, asked Collazo if he was a soldier, to which he responded, "Yes, I'm a soldier." They inquired whether he intended to harm them or the bus driver and why he was acting in this manner.
The Army trainee previously arrested for hijacking a bus full of children
The Army trainee was arrested and charged with scores of offenses on May 6 after police claimed he boarded a South Carolina school bus with a rifle and took the driver and elementary students hostage, before releasing them. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the trainee, dressed in training clothing, went off the post and fled with a rifle from the installation. Deputies began getting calls about a person flagging down vehicles on a nearby highway.
Lott said some of the 18 children on the bus started using cell phones to contact their parents to inform them of what was going on. When some of the children repeatedly asked whether Collazo intended to harm them or the driver, the Army trainee "got a little frustrated" and instructed the bus to stop, prompting the driver and passengers to leave, AP News reported.
Collazo then drove the bus for a few miles before leaving it, the rifle still inside. The Army trainee then went into the neighborhoods nearby, searching for clothes before being apprehended by deputies without incident. The bus was carrying elementary school students, said a spokesperson for the Richland Two School District. She noted multiple area schools' security was improved as a measure, and no one was allowed to enter or exit the buildings.
It is at least the second high-profile incident involving a Fort Jackson soldier in recent weeks. After a viral video showed a man accosting and shoving a Black man in his neighborhood last month, a Fort Jackson soldier was charged with third-degree assault and got suspended.