Man throws bag onto CTA bus prompting panic, evacuation

CHICAGO –A CTA bus was evacuated Tuesday afternoon on Chicago’s North Side after a man threw a bag onto the bus causing a panic.

The incident happened just after 4:30 p.m. near Elston and Kimball in the Irving Park neighborhood.

Passengers tell WGN News they heard that man call out to the bus driver, then throw a backpack onto the bus.

Passengers say they were stopped at a red light and it appeared a man was about to get on. Instead, they say he yelled something and threw a bag through the open doors.

Witnesses say they were certain it was a bomb about to explode.

“Everybody was screaming,” said Derrick Thomas who was on board the bus.  “He threw it on there, so instinctively, you think that’s what it is.”

It took just an instant for passengers to realize what the man had done.  Then there was a mad scramble to get off the bus.

“Someone fell out the door and then two people went right over him to get out,” said passenger Nicole Jureczek.

The surrounding area was quickly shut down as authorities investigated.  A police K9 and its handler venture borded the bus to check out the package.

The bus driver was barely able to speak about the ordeal shortly after it happened. Passengers waited nearby to make sure she was ok.

Passengers who were on that bus say it happened so fast, they’re not sure they are able to give an accurate description of the man.

Police say the bag was a gym bag with water in it.  The man then got into a white sedan driven by a female and left the scene.  Police are investigating the incident.