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Shirtless man hijacks, crashes Atlanta school bus

ATLANTA - A shirtless man leaped through the window of an Atlanta school bus with about a dozen students aboard Thursday, overpowered the driver to take the wheel, then left the bus driverless as it careened down a steep hill, authorities said.

As the bus plunged, screaming students bounded out of the emergency exit in the back, said Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery. Two students and the bus driver were injured, but not seriously, police said.

By the time 23-year-old suspect Arris Pitmon was arrested after the crash, he was naked, police said. A witness said the man lost his pants while trying to escape from bystanders, revealing only a condom.

'This was a weirdo,' said witness Corey Turner. 'Something was wrong with this guy. We turned him over and he just had a condom on. Maybe he was stripping or something - I had no earthly idea.'

Pitmon jumped into the stopped bus as a student from Forest Hills Academy, which is grades seven through 12, was being dropped off in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood, said Atlanta Police Officer James Polite. He took control of the steering wheel, then left the seat to chase the driver, who had run to the rear, the officer said.

A student tried to take the wheel, but Polite said Pitmon fought him to regain control of the bus. The bus continued forward, left the roadway and crashed through a fence, finally stopping at a wall about 175 feet off the pavement about 4 p.m.

The 38-year-old Turner, who owns a small landscaping company, said he was cutting grass at a nearby church when he saw kids abandoning the bus, which looked like it was going about 25 mph.