RTA Driver Accused of Assaulting Passenger Turns Self In

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BEACHWOOD, Ohio — The RTA driver accused of assaulting a passenger in September surrendered to Beachwood police Monday.

Artis Hughes, 59, spent 30 minutes in custody taking photos, fingerprints and posting $5,000 bond.

Hughes faces a misdemeanor for the incident. RTA also immediately suspended Hughes without pay.

Passenger Shi’dea Lane, 25, is charged with disorderly conduct.

Hughes, was caught on tape delivering an uppercut to Shi’dea Lane’s chin. An argument between the driver and passenger escalated after Lane, 25, hit and spit on the driving while operating the bus.

*Click here to see cell phone video of the incident…

Hughes is listed as the victim in a police report, and claims he was simply defending himself when Lane threw the first blow.

The cell phone video does not show the moments leading up to Hughes’ punch, but Hughes, as well as other witnesses on that bus, claim that Lane boarded the RTA bus without paying.

The police report says Hughes closed the door and drove to the next bus stop where Lane asked him, “Are you putting me off the bus.”

Seconds later, it was Lane who, according to the police report, grabbed the driver’s neck as he was driving, then spit in his face. 

*Click here for additional coverage including more of the driver’s side …

Hughes then stopped the bus, police say, to protect himself while Lane proceeded to allegedly strike him with her fists.

The following is a statement released by RTA regarding the incident:

“RTA saw the video posted on YouTube of the operator incident on October 11. Through the investigation, we believe the incident occurred on Sept. 18. Upon identifying the driver, he was immediately suspended and removed from duty. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable. RTA apologizes to our customers for this incident. A full investigation continues.”

Hughes and RTA plan to formally meet on Wednesday regarding the incident. He will likely be represented by his union, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

Stay with Fox 8 as more details become available.

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