Man takes airport shuttle for a spin

Was a man in a wheelchair early Monday morning aspiring for a bigger set of wheels? Authorities at San Francisco International Airport can only guess why a man in a wheelchair climbed into the driver’s seat of a Doubletree shuttle bus and went on a joyride around the terminals with passengers still aboard.

The shuttle arrived at Terminal One with around 15 passengers about 5:30 a.m., airport spokesman Mike McCarron said.

The hotel shuttle’s driver was unloading luggage when the man in the wheelchair, said to be in his late 20s to early 30s, rolled up to the bus. He then climbed aboard the shuttle, ditching the wheelchair he didn’t appear to need and drove off with four passengers remaining on board, McCarron said. The shuttle’s driver gave chase on foot without success, he added.

The shuttle’s passengers, police said, left to catch their flights immediately following the incident. Investigators are attempting to track them down to question them about the incident.

“He drove around the upper terminal twice and finally dropped off the bus at Terminal Three, and then fled,” McCarron said. The man, he said, was gone before police arrived.

The passengers were unharmed and nothing from the bus was taken, he said.

“The whole thing happened in a matter of minutes,” said McCarron, who called the incident one of the most bizarre in his 17 years with the airport.

“I have no idea why he did it,” he said. “Maybe he had a compelling need to drive a shuttle bus? Maybe it was a lifelong dream? I don’t know.”

San Francisco police and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident. The man, if found, will face charges of vehicle theft and kidnapping, sheriff’s Lt. Marc Alcantara said.

Vehicle thefts and carjackings have not been a major problem at SFO, McCarron said, since the airport added police and security cameras in the parking lots and terminal areas five years ago.

“[Vehicle thefts] used to be a problem in the parking lots, but it hasn’t happened in a while now,” McCarron said.

maldax@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The San Francisco Police Department has cancelled discretionary days off and will have extra officers on duty for Inauguration Day, Chief Bill Scott said Tuesday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF ‘prepared for anything’ ahead of inauguration, but no protests expected

Authorities boosting police staffing, security at City Hall

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Currey (30) tallied 26 points and seven assists at Monday night’s game against the Lakers. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors overcome 19-point deficit to stun defending-champion Lakers 115-113

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden State Warriors are officially back. Stephen Curry… Continue reading

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Most Read