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Greyhound bus passengers record mutiny after driver allegedly falls asleep

Last Updated Mar 22, 2018 9:39 PM EDT

DALLAS -- A passenger mutiny onboard a Greyhound bus bound for Dallas forced a driver out from behind the wheel. Terrified passengers say that driver was falling asleep and it led to a confrontation caught on video, CBS Dallas/Fort Worth reports.

Three of the passengers who were on the bus arrived in Dallas seven hours late from Phoenix.

Some said they weren't so sure they'd make it in one piece after they caught the driver pinching her cheeks with tweezers just to stay awake. At this point in the bus trip from Phoenix to Dallas, passengers had had enough.

"We politely asked her four times to pull over," said Jasmine McLellan, who said she was among as many as 60 people who were on board a Greyhound bus who noticed their driver falling asleep behind the wheel.

"I got to the point where we saw her going like this and just dozing off," said McLellan.

"The bus was leaning little and that's when people started to really worry," said passenger Philip Hurd. "She was using techniques to try and stay awake and I think that was the initial concern ... We would go over the white line and everybody would be like wake up and she had tweezers she was poking herself with tweezers to keep herself awake it was awful. It got to the point where we had to raise our voice pull over we have children on this bus pull over."

A confrontation happened while passengers said the bus was still moving and the driver stood up to argue with them.

Passengers said they got a Border Patrol escort to a safe location where Greyhound replaced the driver.

The incident raises serious questions about whether a nationwide shortage of bus drivers is pushing current ones to drive without proper rest.

Dallas-based Greyhound responded with a statement from Senior Communications Specialist Lanesha Gipson:

Our schedules are now running on time and we're back on schedule. However, we were experiencing delays at the Dallas station earlier today as we waited for drivers to become available once they completed their federally mandated rest. With resources as tight as they have been, any delay that occurs elsewhere can create a domino effect, which can have an impact on a driver's hours of service. We work diligently to accommodate our customers with the limited resources we have available, and we've been actively hiring drivers in order to meet the increasing demand for our service so these types of delays are minimized. All delayed customers have departed the station are now en route to their destinations.

Regarding the specific incident on the bus headed to Dallas, Gipson issued this statement:

We are currently looking into these allegations, as we take the issue of driver fatigue very seriously. Because safety is the cornerstone of our business, we take necessary precautions to prevent drivers from falling asleep while driving and we make it easy for drivers to be reassigned if they do feel fatigued or don't feel confident that they can operate the bus safely for any reason. Our drivers are in regular contact with our dispatch office, and if they state they are feeling tired or fatigued, they are immediately removed from the schedule for at least 12 hours to allow them to get some rest. Once they feel alert and able to return to work, they may do so.

Some of these passengers said they paid more than $200 for their tickets and would like a refund.

Greyhound has promised a refund after this potentially dangerous incident, CBS Dallas/Fort Worth reports.