EL PASO COUNTY – The actions of a Fort Carson soldier could have saved lives Monday night.
Army Specialist Nathaniel Barrett-Frieson was driving north on I-25 near Fountain when he saw a Greyhound bus crashed into a guardrail.
“I have a lot of medical training, so I want to make sure that everybody was okay medically-wise,” Barrett-Frieson said.
However, it quickly became clear to Barrett-Frieson that he would have to use his Army training to de-escalate a tense situation.
“There’s a gentleman screaming, ‘They’re killing me, they’re killing me, let me out!’ And the bus driver was screaming over him, like, ‘Don’t let him out — he caused the accident. He did this.”
That man was later identified by Fountain Police as Edmundo Arellanes-Audelo. He’s suspected of threatening passengers on board with a knife, commandeering the bus, and steering it into the guardrail. Another passenger on the bus, also armed with a knife was trying to subdue the man, but he didn’t have any luck.
“I saw two guys with a knife, a terrified bus driver telling me not to let this guy off, and I warned him, I was like, ‘I am armed. You guys need to calm down, stay where you are, don’t do anything, like don’t make me draw my weapon.’ They continued to escalate the situation, so I drew my weapon.”
Barrett-Frieson, who openly carries a handgun when he’s in public, kept Arellanes-Audelo at the scene until police could arrive.
“I always carry, just because you never know what’s going to happen. You never know who you’re going to run into.”
Amazingly, the bus driver was the only person injured in the ordeal and that person is expected to recover.
Fountain Police are thankful no one else was hurt, and they say Barrett-Frieson’s actions helped keep others safe.
“It’s great that we do still have people that are willing to step up and kind of take that danger in their own hands in hopes of protecting everyone else around them,” said Fountain Police Officer Lisa Schneider.
“I did what I felt was necessary to keep myself safe and everybody else safe, and I would do it again any day of the week,” Barrett-Frieson said.
Arellanes-Audelo is being held in the El Paso County jail on suspicion of felony criminal mischief, hindering public transportation, felony menacing with a weapon, assault, and reckless endangerment. Fountain Police said he is a Mexican national.
Homeland Security has not yet responded to our requests for information about his immigration status.