CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I-Team has found an RTA bus driver fired for making a call on a cell phone while hauling a bus full of passengers, but he’s fighting to get his job back saying he had no choice.
Video obtained by the I-Team shows driver Henry Hill pulled out his phone during a disturbance on the bus. It happened on the RTA #90 line. Two men started having words, then one physically attacked the other.
Union President William Nix said, "This was an extreme emergency. This man should not be fired.”
The union is fighting to get Hill back on the job. The union argues the bus radio system was not working. In fact, the I-Team obtained an inspection report showing the radio had been written up.
Some of the audio is muddled on the security video recording, but the union says there were even threats to kill.
And all of this developed with the bus barreling down I-480.
Nix added, "Now you’re on the freeway; you don't have the normal stops to jump off the bus and call. So he had to call on the freeway while on route, and try to maintain, and make sure everyone was safe, and have transit police intercept them.”
The I-Team also reviewed the letters telling the driver he was getting disciplined and fired. An RTA transportation manager wrote, it was a “…violation of the GCRTA Cellular Telephone and Electronic Device Policy.”
And, “…staying in line with the GCRTA policy and procedures you are hereby discharged.”
The union argues, with the bus radio out, the driver would not be able to tell whether or not that hidden alarm was working.
Police finally met the bus downtown to intercept it. By that time, the troublemaker on board had gotten off. But the story of what happened during the trip isn’t over.
William Nix said, "And he did the right thing. And that's why we're saying the board needs to look at this and bring him back to work."
If RTA does not give the driver his job back, the union plans to keep pursuing the matter with legal action.