EXCLUSIVE: Punched Rider’s Side of RTA Scuffle

* * * Warning: Video content may be considered disturbing * * *

CLEVELAND — It’s unbelievable video that is sending shock waves through Cleveland.

Cell video of a bus driver punching a passenger that went viral recently.

The woman who was on the receiving end of the punch is talking only to Fox 8’s Melissa Reid.

“I don’t remember everything, because I was so hysterical at the time,” said Shidea Lane, 25, of Cleveland.

Lane says she was getting on an RTA bus back on Sept. 18 to go to work.

“The bus driver didn’t think I had any money to get on the bus and I was looking for it, trying to tell him that I have money to get on the bus. Can you just let me find it? And from there it just escalated,” said Lane.

The situation escalated so much that eventually Artis Hughes, 59, of Cleveland, delivered an uppercut to Lane’s chin.

“It’s amazing to see how a man would hit a woman that hard. Are you serious? You could have pulled me off the bus. You can’t really touch anyone, but for real? You really punched me?” said Lane.

Cell phone video captured the hit, and the sound is resounding.

“It felt like I was on Mortal Kombat. It just hurted. It was almost like a ‘finish him!’ type of hit,” said Lane.

Now this all went down on the No. 5 bus going down Chagrin Boulevard.

According to the RTA, Hughes has been with the company for 22 years.

“Upon identifying the driver, he was immediately suspended and removed from duty. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable. RTA apologizes to our customers for this incident,” said the RTA in a statement.

Hughes, 59, is listed as the victim in a police report, and claims he was simply defending himself when Lane threw the first blow.

The cell phone video does not show the moments leading up to Hughes’ punch, but Hughes, as well as other witnesses on that bus, claim that Lane boarded the RTA bus without paying.

The police report says Hughes closed the door and drove to the next bus stop where Lane asked him, “Are you putting me off the bus.”

Seconds later, it was Lane who, according to the police report, grabbed the driver’s neck as he was driving, then spit in his face. 

Hughes then stopped the bus, police say, to protect himself while Lane proceeded to allegedly strike him with her fists. 

*Click here for additional coverage including more of the driver’s side …

However, Lane is not apologizing for her role in the incident.

When asked about hitting the bus driver and spitting on him first, Lane did not comment.

“No see, that’s why I want to talk to my lawyer.  I don’t really want to, I can’t answer that question.  It’s more than that,” said Lane.

But Lane does admit that two wrongs don’t make a right and says she has changed.

“And if something like this escalates, I would just remove myself quickly.  You know what I’m saying, instead of having the decency to engage in a conversation with the guy,” said Lane.

***WARNING: The raw video on YouTube includes profanity, racism and violence. Click here to be redirected to the video.

(Fox 8’s Jennifer Jordan contributed to this report.)