Wife of hijacked bus driver shares harrowing Atlanta chase experience

The heroic actions of Ernst, a bus driver who found himself at the center of a high-speed police chase on Tuesday afternoon while being held at gunpoint, have captivated the community.

Joseph Grier is accused of boarding a Gwinnett County Transit bus in downtown Atlanta, shooting a passenger, and then forcing the bus driver to drive away. The bus was eventually stopped in another county and Grier was arrested. The passenger who was shot was pronounced deceased.

In an exclusive interview with FOX 5 Atlanta, Ernst’s wife, Antoine, shared her shock and disbelief upon learning about her husband’s harrowing experience.

"It blew me away. I was very shocked. I said, ‘Is it true? Is it real?’" Antoine recounted.

The incident, which still feels surreal to both Antoine and Ernst, unfolded when Ernst was forced to drive a bus with a gun pointed at his head, followed by a chase that saw the weapon wedged tightly against his leg.

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Despite the immediate danger, Ernst’s primary concern remained the safety of his passengers and other motorists on the highway.

Antoine explained, "He wanted the people in the bus to be saved. He was doing all those maneuvers because he didn’t want to hurt anybody on the street. It touched my heart."


In the wake of the incident, Antoine emphasized that their family is praying for the family and loved ones of the man who lost his life during the chase and subsequent shooting.

We also spoke exclusively with a family member of the suspect, Joseph Grier.

Grier’s father’s partner, who has known him for 16 years, revealed that Grier has struggled with multiple mental health issues, including schizophrenia. She was alerted to the hijacking and shooting by a friend and later confirmed the news herself.

"My heart goes out to the other family, but it could have been so much worse. There were 17 people on that bus. Suppose all of them got shot or killed. I don’t know what his mental state was about," she said.

EXCLUSIVE: Gwinnett County Transit Bus hijacking suspect described as 'soft, calm and loving'

In a separate incident, Grier was on the scene of the Peachtree Center shooting in downtown Atlanta.

Investigators have confirmed that the two incidents are not related but video footage from the scene shows Grier interacting with police officers in the area shortly before he boarded the bus.