Queen Mary Dark Harbor Shuttle Driver Accused of Punching Passenger After Ride Turns Chaotic in Detour to Carson

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The driver of a shuttle headed to the Queen Mary Dark Harbor Halloween event in Long Beach was taken into custody after taking patrons on a chaotic ride 10 miles out of the way to Carson and allegedly punching one of the passengers Thursday night.

Cellphone video shot by one of the riders shows people jumping out of a window and screaming. It all unfolded after a ride that was expected to take just around 5 minutes turned into a 25- to 30-minute trip with things turning so heated the driver allegedly punched one passenger in the stomach.

Police later identified the driver as James Lee.

He refused to tell people on the bus where he was going, not greeting people as they first boarded and later turning violent, according to Ashia Souder, the passenger who shot the video.

"It was just so scary because he wasn't communicating with us," she told KTLA.

After passengers called 911, the driver was pulled over and taken into custody by law enforcement. Long Beach police said he will likely face battery charges.

"Currently, detectives are interviewing all the patrons on board, and depending on the outcome of those interviews, more charges could come," Officer Alvino Herrera said.

While there was speculation Lee could face kidnapping charges, Long Beach police later clarified that would not be the case.

Lee apparently took the detour to get around a train and was trying to find somewhere safe to stop, authorities said.

But his refusal to speak with passengers, as some are heard in the video screaming for him to open a door so they can get out, was most concerning since it was unclear what was going to happen next, Souder said.

"I didn't know if he was going to pull out a gun," Souder said.

The passengers boarded the bus after being picked up from an overflow parking area. They are being refunded by the Queen Mary and will receive a fast pass for the final night of Dark Harbor on Nov. 2, the company said.

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