‘I have to do the right thing:’ Driver of hijacked bus says he focused on passengers, not himself

ATLANTA — The driver of a hijacked Gwinnett County bus is speaking out for the first time and says throughout the harrowing experience, he stayed focused on his duty.

Ernst Antoine was driving his normal route with a Gwinnett County transit bus on Tuesday when Joseph Grier got on board.

Moments after getting on the bus, Grier allegedly got into a fight with another passenger, Ernest Byrd. Grier is accused of taking Byrd’s gun and shooting him in the leg. Byrd died from his injuries.

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After shooting Byrd, Grier allegedly hijacked the bus and commanded Ernst Antoine to drive, leading police on an hours-long chase.

Ernst Antoine, who is also a pastor from Haiti, says his focus was on protecting the passengers on board.

“And then even I’m dying, I will protect them and the bus and protect the people outside the bus. Because I have to do the right thing, no matter what happened to me,” he said.


His daughter, Keren Antoine, told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that her father has only been driving that route for three months but has 20 years of experience as a bus driver.

Grier is currently being held in the Fulton County Jail on more than two dozen charges, including murder, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

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