CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive video of a passenger threatening an RTA bus driver as he’s behind the wheel, and this case shows why there’s a growing national push to protect public bus drivers and train operators.
The video shows a man repeatedly going to the front of the RTA bus having words with the driver even as the bus is moving. Then, the angry passenger starts gesturing with his hand as if he has a gun. A police report shows he did, in fact, have a weapon, a box cutter.
Union President William Nix reviewed the video, and he said. “He’s up there, seems like, to antagonize the driver.”
Nix says trouble like that nationwide has led to a push for a new federal law to protect public transit drivers.
Nix added, "You worry about his safety, not only his safety, but the passengers that's on board and public walking. If he's attacked on that bus, while he's off the gas or stepping on the gas fighting, that bus becomes a missile.”
In the last year in Cleveland, we’ve seen gunshots fired into an RTA bus, a man sent to prison for attacking a bus driver with a brick, and a disturbance on a bus barreling down I-480.
The latest case happened last month, and Transit Police arrested Derrick Brown. A police report shows trouble started after a dispute about the bus fare.
And no telling if the suspect could end up getting back on another RTA bus. Records show he's wanted. He didn't go to court for a hearing on this case, and just got indicted on a drug case -- didn't go to court for that, either.
Years ago, RTA considered putting security glass around drivers. Then RTA decided against that.
Now a national push for driver safety.
William Nix said, "It’s not just here. It’s everywhere our bus operators are being assaulted every day."
Right now, union leaders across the country are working on gathering support from federal lawmakers for new driver protection.
The overall number of RTA driver assaults was not immediately available.