CARIBOU, Maine – A Canadian man, who could face at least 20 years in prison for threatening to blow up a Cyr Bus Line bus in Houlton this week, made an initial appearance in court Friday afternoon.
Daniel Thomas Maccabee, 50, a native of Quebec who last lived in Madison, Wis., appeared in a Caribou courtroom by video conference from Aroostook County Jail in Houlton. He was represented by attorney Jeff Pickering of Houlton, who was appointed for the proceedings presided over by Aroostook County Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter.
Maccabee is facing four felony counts of terrorizing and three misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly commandeering the bus at the Irving Big Stop in Houlton, threatening to blow it up and assaulting three of the seven passengers before they got off, according to police. The standoff with police lasted about nine hours before Maccabbe surrendered at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The bomb turned out to be a fake.
Maccabee was not required to enter a plea during his initial appearance Friday.
He appeared nonchalant during Friday’s proceedings as he discussed the charges against him with Pickering. Clad in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit, he immediately corrected the judge on the pronunciation of his name before being read the charges against him.
He could face up to five years in prison on each terrorizing charge, as well as thousands of dollars in fines.
When Justice Hunter asked Maccabee if he understood the charges, the defendant responded, “Uh, yeah, yeah, I understand.”
Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins requested bail be set at $25,000 secured bond or $5,000 cash. Collins said he asked for bail to be set at that level because Maccabee has no ties to the state, no family nearby and police have evidence that he was trying to get into Canada.
No one else can post the bail for him. If he is able to make bail, he will have to have a constant court-approved guardian and take all medications prescribed to him as directed. If released, he also must have no contact with the victims he allegedly assaulted.
When asked if he objected to undergoing a mental health exam, Maccabee replied, “Oh, no.”
An evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial also will be conducted in one to three months.
According to police, Maccabee boarded the northbound bus in Bangor on Wednesday evening and while en route told the bus driver, Archie Rivers of Old Town, that he was strapped with a bomb. He displayed what appeared to be a detonator with wires running to a bulge under his jacket.
He then reportedly told Rivers he wanted to go to the Canadian border and ordered the driver not to stop in Houlton, which borders New Brunswick. Rivers, who told the Bangor Daily News on Thursday that he didn’t believe Maccabee really had a bomb, refused and pulled the bus into the Irving Big Stop, a 24-hour restaurant and gas station in Houlton. It is Cyr Bus Line’s customary depot.
Before the bus stopped, an agitated Maccabee allegedly ordered one woman to the middle of the bus, and when she didn’t move, he punched her in the arm and asked her if she wanted to die, police reported. He also allegedly kicked another woman in the leg, flashed the detonator and told her he wanted her seat. When the bus stopped, the passengers tried to whisk past him. He grabbed a third woman, Christine Hart of Presque Isle, by the hair just prior to her departure.
Hart said Thursday that Maccabee pulled her head back so that she could see his face and said, “Maybe I should keep you for safekeeping.”
He then hesitated before pushing her off the bus. Since the community is so near the border, U.S. Border Patrol agents immediately boarded the bus for a routine inspection.
Maccabee made demands to a Border Patrol agent, who summoned Houlton police Sgt. Fred Parker. Houlton police then called the Maine State Police tactical team to take over the scene.
While all seven passengers were allowed off the bus, Maccabee stayed on and continued to threaten to detonate the bomb unless police met his demands, including granting him asylum in Canada.
The Irving Big Stop restaurant was evacuated, and law enforcement officials, including Aroostook County sheriff’s deputies and Customs and Border Protection officers, detoured traffic around a section of U.S. Route 1 in the area as a precaution. They also cleared out neighboring gas stations.
The standoff ended when Maccabee surrendered at 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
Instead of a bomb, he was carrying a video game controller, intercom wire, duct tape and a spiral-bound notebook, police said.
After Friday’s court session, prosecutor Collins said he could not comment on whether Maccabee has a prior criminal history, and he did not know how long Maccabee had been in Maine or how he got here from Wisconsin.
Pickering said during the hearing that Maccabee has no ability to make bail.
Maccabee is next scheduled to appear in court in July and his case likely will be presented to the Aroostook County grand jury this month.