Metro Transit bus rider sprays Mace in driver's face
By Mara H. Gottfried
Updated: 07/20/2009 07:06:41 PM CDT
A female passenger on a Metro Transit bus in St. Paul sprayed the driver "directly in the face" with Mace last week, a police report said.
Paramedics checked out the driver, who was stopped at the time, and he also saw his family doctor today, said Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit spokesman.
The suspect, who appeared to be in her late teens, wanted to get off the Route 62 bus at a location that was not a stop, Gibbons said. The driver proceeded to the nearest stop and the passenger sprayed him as she got off on Rice Street at Maryland Avenue, he said. It happened just before 10 p.m. on Friday.
Another bus and driver came and relieved the original driver for the rest of the trip, Gibbons said. He said he didn't know how long of a delay there was or how many people had been on the bus.
Police are investigating and continue looking for the suspect, Gibbons said. They are using video from the bus to try to identify her, he said.
Gibbons said it was the first time anyone at Metro Transit could recall a driver being assaulted with pepper spray or a chemical irritant.
There were nine assaults — which Metro Transit defines broadly and includes spitting and slapping in its count — on drivers in the first half of this year, compared with 19 in 2008 and 31 in 2007, Gibbons said.
Metro Transit combats assaults on drivers through training, making customers aware that cameras are on buses, and having Metro Transit police officers ride buses, Gibbons said.