RTA passenger tries to ‘sucker punch’ bus driver

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Surveillance video showed a passenger throwing a sucker punch at an RTA bus driver during the early evening of Thursday, June 28, 2018.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority driver was attacked Thursday evening by a passenger on the bus.

Officers responded around 6 p.m. to the corner of West First and Perry streets, where the passenger walked to the front of the bus as if to deboard, but then turned around and punched the driver in the mouth. The driver and suspect began tussling on the ground and the driver yelled for passersby to call police, according to the report.

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“Absolutely looks like the guy tried to sucker punch our employee,” Mark Donaghy, CEO of the transit agency said after reviewing security video of the incident.

While police were called to West First and Perry streets, the police report reveals the situation started miles earlier along the bus route.

The driver told police the man boarded the bus at the corner of Cornell and Kipling drives in Dayton. The rider was reportedly being disorderly and bothering two women, so the driver told him to stop or he’d have to leave the bus.

The man got up and started arguing with him when the bus got to First and Perry streets, when the driver pulled over.

That’s when the assault happened.

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Donaghy said the driver — who suffered a small cut on his lip — is on administrative leave while they review the incident, which he said is standard procedure.

“We’re comfortable he acted in the right way, that’s our cursory, initial review and we’re more concerned about his well-being last night,” he said.

Assaults of bus drivers are rare, Donaghy said, and highlights an issue being discussed right now at the Statehouse in Columbus.

If it becomes law, House Bill 496 would elevate criminal charges for assaulting a transit worker in Ohio from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“If we could place placards on our buses to talk about how significant the penalty is for assaulting one of our employees, and event like last night may never happen,” Donaghy said.

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There are eight cameras aboard the RTA bus, which captured the entire incident.

Donaghy said he is confident the video will help lead authorities to a suspect and eventual conviction.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers, 222-STOP.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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