OAKDALE – A San Francisco man driving a stolen Bay Area bus led multiple agencies on a 90-mile joyride that ended near the Cowboy Capital of the World.
Authorities arrested Justin Moss after the 29-year-old commandeered an Alameda/Contra Costa transit bus at the Transbay Terminal along Fulton Street in San Francisco.
Moss faces charges of reckless driving, failure to yield and grand theft. He was apprehended three miles west of Oakdale, along Highway 120 at Cleveland Avenue.
Smoke bellowed from the right side of the bus, damage caused by a spike strip put down by the California Highway Patrol in Escalon, a few miles further west.
“We got a BOL (Be On the Lookout) for a stolen bus, we saw the bus and got behind it,” said Stockton area CHP Officer Gustavo Arellano. “We turned on the lights as we were eastbound on Highway 120 approaching 99 but he just kept going.”
Arellano said the stolen bus was not speeding, going roughly an average of 55 to 60 mph during the pursuit. At one point, Moss eluded an auto theft task force near Delicato Winery in Manteca. He made a quick U-turn along Highway 99 Frontage Road, fleeing down French Camp Road and eventually Highway 120.
A spike strip was laid down near the corner of 120 and McHenry Avenue in Escalon. The tactic worked, forcing Moss to park the stolen bus about three miles outside Oakdale city limits.
“When he pulled over, he was compliant,” Arellano said of Moss.
A felony traffic stop was enacted, with pursuing officers taking Moss into custody at gunpoint. There were no weapons found on the bus. Moss was taken to San Joaquin County Jail with charges pending.
Allen Perry, an off-duty road supervisor with AC Transit who lives in Tracy, was near his home and headed to an auto parts store when he heard the report about the stolen bus. Within a couple of minutes, Perry spotted the bus on the highway and joined the pursuit.
“It was stolen out of the temporary terminal in San Francisco…,” Perry said of the 2003 Belgium-built 40-foot long bus. “It was reported to the SFPD at about 9:40 a.m.”
The bus had been in service for the early morning commute, then parked at the terminal and put on standby status. It was going to be towed back to San Francisco, where its scheduled for repairs and a safety check before being put back in service.
Bulletin reporter Glenn Kahl contributed to this report.