St. George Police: Man who tried to steal Salt Lake Express bus to get home booked into jail

St. George Police vehicle. File photo:

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Nov. 18, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — A 53-year-old man was arrested by St. George police after officers say he first refused to exit a Salt Lake Express bus, then chased the driver around the parking lot, then attempted to steal a second bus, only to be foiled by the unknown ignition procedure.

Russell James McDougall was arrested after the incident Monday. His affidavit says that McDougall went to the Salt Lake Express bus terminal, at 805 S. Bluff St., and entered a bus that had just let off its passengers.

“Dispatch received a 911 call from a bus driver reporting a male who seemed intoxicated on drugs who was chasing him around the parking lot after refusing to get off of the bus,” the affidavit says. “As officers were responding, the complainant reported that the male was now trying to steal one of the Salt Lake Express buses from the parking lot.

“When Officer Groves arrived, he saw a male matching the description given by the driver who was standing near a bus with his hands in the air and seemed agitated. He was detained in handcuffs and the bus driver was interviewed.”

The driver said after chasing him, McDougall “ran to another Salt Lake Express bus that was parked in the parking lot and boarded that bus. (The driver) then saw the brake lights coming on, and knew that the male was trying to steal the bus. He was not able to start it, however, due to not knowing the correct procedure. The male then exited the bus and chased the driver again, and stood in front of the bus to prevent him from driving ahead.”

St. George police interviewed McDougall, “and he admitted that he had boarded the bus and did not get off when the driver told him, but he could not remember how he had actually gotten to St George,” his court documents say. “He also admitted that he had boarded the other bus and tried to start it, with the intention of taking it and driving home to Salt Lake City, but he could not get it started.”

A player’s card from the Maverik Casino in Wendover, Nevada, was located in McDougal’s wallet, “and he had no explanation for his possession of this financial transaction card other than to say it belonged to his roommate, whose phone number he could not provide. Russell had a gaunt and sallow look to his face, was disheveled, had bloodshot eyes, an agitated demeanor, fidgety body movements and struggled to answer questions, seemingly unaware of how he had arrived at the bus terminal.”

McDougall admitted he had used methamphetamine and marijuana, the statement says. He was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility for investigation of:

  • Theft of an operable motor vehicle, a second-degree felony
  • Unlawful acquire/possess/transfer financial card, a third-degree felony
  • Threatening breach of peace on a bus, a class C misdemeanor
  • Obstructing operation of a bus, a class C misdemeanor
  • Intoxication, a class C misdemeanor

As always, charges will be determined by the County Attorney’s Office.

Court documents noted McDougall is a violent convicted felon with 16 arrests in Utah since 1994.

McDougal’s bail was set at $10,000.

Purgatory Correctional Facility Photo Washington County Sheriffs Office


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