Masked intruder found on shuttle

As Commuter Services employee Roland Jacques approached the campus bus parking area Thursday, he was surprised by a masked individual-of the furry variety.

Jacques was getting a bus out of the parking lot at the intersection of Fort Douglas Blvd. and Pollock Drive, just south of Sage Point Residence Halls at about 9:30 a.m., but when Jacques boarded the bus and took the driver’s seat, a raccoon jumped onto the dashboard and began hissing at him, according to a U police report.

Jacques “bailed out of the bus in a heartbeat,” said U Sgt. Kent Curtis.

The driver then called animal control, but Curtis said the organization was backlogged, so the University of Utah Police Department sent Officers John Thompson and Garth Smith to Curtis’ aid.

Upon their arrival, the raccoon became frightened and scurried under the bus’s dashboard.

After failing to coax the animal out of hiding with vegetables and tuna fish, Thompson requested a pair of heavy-duty welders’ gloves be brought to the scene. The gloves were too bulky, so officers removed the face of the dashboard and shooed the raccoon out.

“Thompson unscrewed the dash, and the raccoon came out,” Curtis said. “Then it ran up his arm, but he cornered the raccoon in the back of the bus.”

Shortly thereafter, Thompson took the raccoon into custody.

Thompson and Jacques took the animal to the mouth of Red Butte Canyon and released it into the wild.

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