RTA: All four teen suspects arrested in rock attack on bus driver

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CLEVELAND- RTA police said Monday night that all four teen suspects have been arrested in Sunday's attack on a bus driver at East 40th and Community College Ave. Two of the suspects are 17 years old; two are 14 years old.

They will be booked on aggravated assault charges after someone swinging a sock filled with rocks attacked the driver.

RTA released video of the attack and the following statement on Monday:

"The operator used the Priority Request to Talk button at 12:41 – which connects her to our control center. Transit police were dispatched at 12:45, and police arrived on the scene at 12:49 a.m.

The operator was transported to St. Vincent Charity Hospital where she was seen at 1:29 a.m. and released at 1:40 a.m. with the ability to go back to work.

Regarding the number of operator assaults that occur on RTA buses – even one assault is one too many.   Our operators drive through areas which have seen the number of crimes on the rise in recent years. In 2012, we had 27 operator assaults, we had 11 in 2013 and we have had 18 in 2014.

We share concerns about safety with our passengers and operators.   That’s why we have installed surveillance video on the inside and outside of all our buses, inside our trains, at rapid stations and in parking lots. While this has increased public awareness of assaults, the extra attention also helps us catch the perpetrators.

Importantly, we have the second largest police force in the county – and fortunately their quick response has resulted in 10 arrests out of 18 thus far in 2014.

Questions were raised regarding the method used by the operator to contact transit police. We found several errors in the procedures that were followed, and we will be working with all our operators to remind them of the correct procedures to be implemented at such a time. The Priority Request to Talk button was used and it was in operation, but connects only to the dispatch operators. The alarm button was functional but was not activated by the operator."'

The sock struck the driver three to four times in the face, neck and shoulders.

The driver was taken to the hospital, where she was treated and released. According to reports, a piece of the rock or brick also hit a male passenger, who declined medical attention.

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