Texas authorities: prisoner stabs guard and escapes from bus

CENTERVILLE, Texas (AP) – A Texas prisoner serving a life sentence for murder escaped from a transport bus Thursday after stabbing the driver, prompting a search in a rural county between Dallas and Houston, a announced the authorities.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were searching an area off a Leon County highway for Gonzalo Lopez, 46, who was convicted in 2006 of killing another man along the border between Texas and Mexico.

There were 16 prisoners on the bus but no one else escaped, said Jason Clark, chief of staff for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He said Lopez overpowered the driver, a correctional officer, but it was unclear whether Lopez took control of the bus or simply ran off the road.

The driver’s injuries are not considered life-threatening, Clark said.

Leon County has a population of about 16,000 and is about 80 miles north of the state prison headquarters.

Jail records show Lopez was recently held in a jail in Gatesville, more than 100 miles from where authorities were looking.

Other Texas prisoners have also escaped from transport vehicles over the years. Among the most recent was in 2019 when an MMA fighter suspected of killing two people fled a van and disappeared for nine hours. Authorities said he was eventually found hiding in a trash can.

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