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An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of Magistrate Judge Kimberley Knowles.
Man says he plans pleads guilty to stealing Metrobus

By Keith L. Alexander
Thursday, August 19, 2010; B04

A Southeast Washington man told a D.C. Superior Court judge Wednesday that he planned to plead guilty to stealing a Metrobus, taking it for a ride and picking up passengers.

William Jackson, 19, told Magistrate Judge Kimberley Knowles that he was waiving his preliminary hearing.

His sentencing is scheduled to take place Sept. 1 unless he changes his plea decision or chooses to enter a diversion program.

Jackson's attorney, Marnitta King, and prosecutors are negotiating the details of the plea, King said.

Jackson is charged with one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle. He remains released on his own recognizance.

According to charging documents, Jackson entered the Bladensburg Metro garage at 2251 Sixth St. NE on July 9 and was wearing a Metrobus operator's uniform of dark shoes, blue pants and a blue bus operator shirt with a yellow and orange vest. He then climbed into the driver's seat of Bus 9318, started it and drove out of the garage.

Jackson then began driving the bus's scheduled B2 route, picking up several passengers as he traveled east on Massachusetts Avenue SE, the documents say.

Jackson made a left on 17th Street SE, the documents said; he hit a tree, "destroyed" the front end of the bus and damaged the rear and curb sides of the vehicle. No one was injured. Jackson fled from the bus, and the bus came to a stop at the 1500 block of Potomac Avenue SE.

Jackson was later arrested by police. He had removed his Metrobus operator's shirt and placed it in his backpack.

An investigation revealed that Jackson was not a Metro employee, does not have a valid commercial driver's license and did not have permission to operate the bus.

Jackson lives at the residence of a Metrobus operator, according to court documents.

Metro initiated tighter security and identification checks at its bus facilities as a result of the incident.

Knowles reminded Jackson and King that although Jackson has indicated a possible plea, prosecutors could still present evidence of the incident to a grand jury and he could still be indicted.

Jackson, who left the courthouse with family members, declined to comment.

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