A Garden City school bus driver charged with attempted murder in her husband's stabbing told police she plunged a six-inch steak knife into his chest because he grabbed her hair and scratched her face, according to court records.

"He lunged at me and grabbed my hair and clawed at my face," Elizabeth Marrinan, 47, told investigators, the records show. "I picked up a knife and stabbed him . . . the steak knife in the kitchen sink."

Peter Marrinan, 57, suffered a punctured right lung and severe internal bleeding from the stab wound, records show. He was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

Several of the couple's neighbors said they heard them arguing inside their home on Pine Street in recent weeks -- but never thought their fighting would escalate to violence.

"They were a fixture in the neighborhood, and they were very well-liked and respected because Liz was great with our children and her husband is a nice guy," said neighbor John Betts, 45. "I trusted her enough to drive my son to school. I never, ever thought something like this would happen to the Marrinans."

Another neighbor, Sally Grossman, said she heard the couple yelling in their home late last week as she walked her dog down Pine Street.

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"I didn't think much of it, because all couples argue sometimes," Grossman said. "I know her as a kind, thoughtful woman, and Peter to be just as sweet. This comes as a shock because they're good parents and good people."

Elizabeth Marrinan has been a bus driver for Garden City Union Free Schools since September 2002, according to state records. A district representative confirmed that she worked for the school district but did not comment further.

Peter Marrinan was stabbed Sunday evening after the couple "became involved in a domestic incident . . . that became physical," police said in a release.

Garden City police responded to the scene at 6:07 p.m. Sunday and arrested Elizabeth Marrinan without incident. At her arraignment in Nassau District Court in Hempstead, a judge ordered her held on $1 million bond.

She had not posted bail as of Tuesday afternoon, records show. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24.