A Chicago man who allegedly said he had a gun on a Greyhound bus, and led police on a chase southbound on Interstate 94 from the Racine, Wis. area to Route 173 in northern Lake County, was being held without bail Sunday in the Lake County jail.
Margarito Vargas-Rosas, 33, has been charged with felony charges of making a terroristic threat, as well as misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, according to Sgt. Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
At a Bond Court hearing in Waukegan Sunday, Vargas-Rosas was ordered held without bond in the Lake County jail, with a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, Covelli said.
Covelli said Vargas-Rosas is being held pending extradition to Racine County, Wis.
According to a news release from Illinois State Police, authorities received a call for a disorderly and possibly armed person on a Greyhound bus on I-94 around 10 p.m., the release said.
Law enforcement officers began chasing the bus in Wisconsin, and the pursuit ended near the exit for Route 173 near Wadsworth.
Covelli said that more than 20 Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies, including members of the office’s Tactical Response Team, responded to assist Illinois State Police.
Members of the Tactical Response Team apprehended Vargas-Rosas on the bus, and transported him to the Sheriff’s Office in Waukegan, where he was interviewed by investigators with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, Covelli said. Team members also assisted in evacuating the bus, he said.
A passenger on the bus, Patrick Dodd, told the Chicago Tribune that a man on the bus was threatening passengers in the back of the coach and pulled something out of his pants that may have been a weapon. According to Dodd, the man said he had a gun.
Dodd and other passengers complained in an interview that the bus driver did not stop when officials placed spiked strips in front of the bus.
“He didn’t stop after the first spike strip. He went on to Illinois,” Dodd said. “And then he hit the second spike strip.”
Dodd said the people in the back of the bus began to holler, “You need to stop,” he said.
Dodd caught the Greyhound in Milwaukee about 8:45 p.m. and was headed to Chicago.
Terrance Williams of New Jersey had similar concerns about the ordeal. He was in the middle of the bus when the confusion started.
“The law is you see emergency lights, you pull over,” Williams said.
Williams said at one point he thought the police were escorting the bus, not realizing the situation on the back of the bus.
Eventually, the bus stopped, and the passengers were escorted off the Greyhound one by one, Williams said.
“They treated us like we were criminals, like we did something wrong,” Williams said. “OK, if you got the person you’re looking for and everything’s done, why are you detaining us?
“It was crazy,” he said.
About 40 Greyhound passengers were safely removed from the bus, police said.
Illinois State Police did not release any more information about the incident.
Attempts to reach a Greyhound spokesman for comment this weekend were unsuccessful.
Madeline Buckley, Deanese Williams-Harris and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas of the Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.