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Central Texas Digest: Police identify man who crashed into bus; UT fraternity member charged on suspicion of shooting at firefighters



Driver who hit bus is identified

Austin Police Department officials said 43-year-old Paul Thomas Ray was the man who died Friday after crashing into a Capital Metro bus while fleeing police.

The crash happened in the 8800 block of Georgian Drive in North Austin and sent about a dozen people on the bus to the hospital, officials said. After witnessing an apparent drug transaction about 1:30 p.m. in a motel parking lot near Powell Lane and Interstate 35, an officer called for backup and began following the car with lights and siren on. The car, which officials said had been reported stolen, was out of the officer's sight when the crash happened.

The bus driver was taken to the hospital in serious condition, EMS officials said. None of the injured passengers suffered life-threatening injuries.

Charges in frat house shooting

Police have charged a University of Texas student with deadly conduct after they said he fired a shotgun at firefighters responding to a fire alarm at the Kappa Alpha Order house last week, according to an arrest affidavit and school records.

The charge against James Harlan Bayless, 22, is a third-degree felony. He was not listed among Travis County Jail inmates Monday.

About 3 a.m. Friday, Austin firefighters responded to an alarm at the two-story fraternity house at 2515 Leon St. The affidavit said Bayless fired at four firefighters who were going upstairs. The firefighters took cover, the affidavit said, and then continued upstairs "to see if anyone was injured. As they approached the door, they saw James holding the shotgun."

Police officers later arrested Bayless on the roof. There were no injuries reported. Police discovered shotgun damage to a laundry room door and to laundry machines, the affidavit said.

Bayless, a senior mechanical engineering student, is an active member of the fraternity, according to the fraternity's website and school records.

Witnesses to robbery sought

Austin police were investigating a bank robbery Monday at the Chase Bank branch on Parmer Lane and Metric Boulevard in North Austin, an official said.

Police say a woman walked into the bank wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a black beanie cap about 9:20 a.m. and passed a note to a teller demanding cash, Cpl. Chad Martinka said.

She left in an unknown direction with an undisclosed amount of cash, Martinka said. It was unclear whether she left on foot or in a vehicle, he said.

UT regents to mull Muny lease

The governing board of the University of Texas could decide Friday to let the lease for Lions Municipal Golf Course expire in May 2019, the end of its term.

The golf course, which is leased to the City of Austin, occupies 141 acres of the university-owned Brackenridge tract in West Austin. An advisory panel recommended to the UT System regents in October 2007 that the lease be allowed to end in 2019. The panel called for replacing the golf course, student housing and other portions of the tract with development that could earn more money for UT.

In October 2009, a planning firm hired by the regents recommended a sweeping transformation of the tract into a neighborhood with thousands of housing units as well as shops, offices, parkland, trails and hotels.

See a related map at

UT president out of hospital

University of Texas President William Powers Jr. has been released from St. David's South Austin Medical Center after treatment for a pulmonary embolism.

"He is resting at home," UT spokesman Don Hale said. "There is no definite date set for his return to the office."

Powers, 64, was hospitalized Tuesday and released Sunday. A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage of a lung artery, typically caused by a blood clot traveling from a leg vein.

Paul Tucker, the hospital's chief of cardiology, said Powers first noticed symptoms, including chest discomfort, while attending the Super Bowl in Arlington. Prolonged immobility during a long car ride, cold weather, dehydration and a history of phlebitis, or inflammation of leg veins, probably accounted for the pulmonary embolism, Tucker said.

Men charged in robberies

CORRECTION: An original brief gave the wrong location for a fatal crash involving a Capital Metro bus on Friday. The crash happened in the 8800 block of Georgian Drive in North Austin.

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