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MTA: Former City Bus Driver Hijacks Bus In East Harlem After Being Told To Stop Smoking

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A former city bus driver was arrested Tuesday morning after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said she hijacked a bus when the driver told her to stop smoking.

Police told CBS2 the suspect has been identified as Charita Headley, 34, of the Bronx. The MTA told CBS2 Headley was a former bus driver who was terminated in July 2015 for extended absence.

The joy ride began around 7 a.m. at the 96th Street bus stop in East Harlem.

The driver of an M-101 bus saw the woman smoking and asked her to put out the cigarette and get off, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

The woman became irate, so the driver called for another bus to come to transfer the passengers, Ortiz said. As the driver was outside moving passengers to the second bus on 97th and 3rd, Ortiz said the woman jumped into the driver's seat and sped off.

CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported Headley headed north on 3rd and three blocks later, she was stopped at 100th Street.

"When I saw the bus, you know, the bus was not driving normally," eyewitness Kahlid Hinnawi told CBS2.

A dispatcher was able to reach through the driver's side window and shut off the bus, Ortiz said.

"There was two buses. One was stopping in front of the other, stopping the other one from going," Rasheed Simmons told CBS2.

Officers then boarded the bus and took the woman into custody.

"There was about four or five of them and I just noticed that they had a lady in the car," Simmons told CBS2.

CBS2 reports Headley was taken to Metropolitan Hospital for an evaluation.

Headley has been charged with an unauthorized use of a vehicle and could face up to one year in jail if convicted, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

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