Felony charges were filed Friday against a 56-year-old Laguna Woods man accused of attempting to carjack an Orange County Transportation Authority bus.

Ronald Russell Evans was charged with one felony count each of attempted carjacking, false imprisonment and attempted vehicle theft, as well as misdemeanor counts of battery of a bus driver and damage to a phone being used to notify law enforcement.

About 2 p.m. Wednesday, the bus was northbound on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway when Evans approached the driver, “held up his fists and grabbed the steering wheel in an attempt to take over the bus,” Orange County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Breckner alleged.

As the driver attempted to dial 911, Evans allegedly grabbed the phone. Eventually, the driver steered the bus off the freeway and pulled over near State College Boulevard and Anaheim Way, where he opened the door and Evans got off, the sergeant said.

Deputies found Evans in the area and witnesses identified him as the suspect, Breckner said.

There were a handful of passengers on board, but no one was hurt.

“The Orange County Transportation Authority operates buses every day of the year, safely carrying more than 60,000 passengers on an average weekday even during the coronavirus pandemic — and more than twice that before the public health crisis hit,” said OCTA spokesman Eric Carpenter. “This was a highly unusual incident and we appreciate the quick work of the Orange County Sheriff’s Transit Police Services officers and the OC Bus coach operator to bring it to a safe conclusion.”

Evans pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana and was ordered to return to court Oct. 2 for a pretrial hearing.

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