SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio-- The FOX 8 I TEAM has uncovered more about a fight on board an RTA bus that got a driver fired, and we’ve found how he’s trying to get his job back.
RTA has fired driver Anthony Lesley.
Bus security video last month captured a fistfight between Lesley and rider Cierra Gill. She stormed to the front of the bus. He pushed her back into a seat. She threw a punch at the driver. Then he threw punches at her and pinned her down.
In firing Lesley, RTA wrote, video showed the driver “escalating the situation”, “engaging in…force”, and “refusing to let the passenger off the bus.”
Records just released to the I TEAM show other passengers called 911.
And Lesley later told RTA the female rider was angry; he “felt the need to fight” for his life, and he was “protecting” himself.
A recording obtained by the I TEAM also shows when the driver calls bus dispatch for help, his connection cut out.
The I TEAM also reviewed the driver's personnel file. He's been behind the wheel of an RTA bus for 4 years, involved in a few minor crashes, written up for one passenger complaint and written up once for running ahead of schedule.
Oddly, the union has said this incident started when he was accused of running late.
The driver told RTA he had planned to tell the passenger he was late due to construction.
The union now fighting to get Lesley his job back, arguing he has a right to defend himself. And arguing he’d never been trained to handle something like this.
As it stands now, too late for that.
Meantime, since this incident happened in Shaker Heights, the prosecutor there filed criminal charges against both driver and passenger. Lesley is due in court next week.
But records show Cierra Gill has been wanted for weeks with a warrant out for her arrest in this case. We went to her address on court records and no one answered the door.