The young man behind the wheel of a Washington Metro bus seemed just like any other bus driver -- until he hit a tree and ran off, that is, a passenger says.

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It turns out police say despite the official uniform William Jackson was wearing, the 19-year-old was a phony and he now faces charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and fleeing an accident, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Passenger Thomasena Thompson said Jackson was polite, knew the route and even waited for her to make on board.

"If he wasn't a driver for real," Thompson told the Post, "he's been watching somebody for a real long time."

He also was generous, telling passengers the fare box wasn't working so the rides were free.

But things went haywire Friday afternoon when he hit a tree, sending a limb crashing on top of the bus. He got the six passengers out and extricated the bus from under the tree limb before running off, the Post said.

Two other people chased Jackson down in their cars, and he was arrested. He allegedly told authorities he just has a thing for buses.

An investigation was under way to find out how he was able to get behind the wheel in the first place.