* * * Warning: Video content may be considered disturbing * * *
CLEVELAND — The woman punched on an RTA bus tells her side of the story only to Fox 8, and now we’re revealing the driver’s side of the story.
RTA says the bus driver is on unpaid indefinite suspension.
New video has surfaced showing a physical confrontation between an RTA bus driver and a passenger on Sept. 18. The new video appears to show Shidea Lane, 25, grabbing the driver, Artis Hughes, 59, during a verbal altercation.
That led to the driver stopping the bus near Chagrin Boulevard and Green Road and delivering an uppercut that knocked her to the ground.
“I’m still in pain, you know what I’m saying, my face still hurts, like it does, you know what I’m sayin … it was swollen for like … it’s still probably swollen,” Lane exclusively told Fox 8 News reporter Melissa Reid.
She says the argument started as soon as she boarded the bus.
“He didn’t think I had any money to get on the bus and I was looking for it, trying to tell him I have money to get on the bus. Can you just let me find it? And from there it just escalated,” Lane said.
“He said ‘I’ll drop you off here,’ she didn’t want to get off and he said ‘I’ll drop you off at the first stop I get to.’ She wouldn’t get off there and he said ‘well, you have to pay,” said passenger William Matthews.
Matthews was a passenger on the bus that day. He says he was near the front and saw the whole confrontation.
“And she spit on him, started messing with him while he was driving and he stopped the bus and got out of his seat and said ‘you’re going to jail now’ then he just literally just threw her off the bus,” Matthew recalled.
“It’s amazing to see how a man could hit a woman that hard, you know what I’m sayin … like are you serious? You could’ve pulled me off the bus, you can’t even touch nobody, but for real, you really punched me like that? It was horrible,” said Lane.
According to a written statement in an RTA police report, Artis Hughes told investigators, “She said she would spit on me, that’s when I told her I would hurt her, she continued to threaten me and as I was driving, she grabbed me in the throat and spit on me in the face. I stopped the bus and I protected myself and got off the bus.”
“Hurt like on a scale of 10 to 100 … 100. It hurt like really bad, you know,” Lane told Reid.
By Friday evening, hundreds of people had already “liked” a Facebook page created in defense of the driver not being fired. Shidea Lane would not comment on why the video shows her striking the driver first.
“I can’t answer that question, I’m sorry, but it’s more to that … it’s more to that,” she said.
RTA released a statement saying the driver’s behavior was unacceptable and they apologized to their customers.
Fox 8 has reached out several times to get Artis Hughes’ side of the story, but we have not heard back from him.