Union leaders plead to increase criminal charges after Metro bus driver assaulted

The driver was treated for bruised ribs, a busted lip, and bruises to her eyes and arms.
A Metro bus driver was attacked but while Metro won’t comment, the police and the bus driver’s union will.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A Metro bus driver was attacked but while Metro won’t comment, the police and the bus driver’s union will.

Like many streets in Omaha, Metro buses travel through 14th and Farnam all the time. But things were different just after 6 a.m. on July 22.

A bus driver pleaded with dispatch to call 911. She was being attacked.

Here’s how the bus drivers union president described it.

“She was just sitting at her layover and six teenagers came up, they were fighting among themselves, they got off the bus, they tried to get her off and started punching her,” said Joe Boncordo, president of Transport Workers Union 223.

Tracking the radio dispatch at that time and medics arrived 12 minutes later.

“They don’t want us to call 911 directly, they want us to call dispatch and let them handle it,” said Boncordo.

The driver was treated for bruised ribs, a busted lip, and bruises to her eyes and arms.

“After they got off her bus, they got on another female bus operator’s bus and got locked in and started kicking out the windows,” said Boncordo.

“I think her mother instincts kicked in because she was trying to protect the females that were in that group and trying to get the disorderly, or rude, male passenger that caused the problem and it just escalated from there,” said Chad Olson, vice president.

One of the juveniles, a boy, left damage before they all ran.

Police tracked him down a few blocks away near 10th and Douglas where he was arrested and street released meaning police called his parents and returned him back to their custody.

The boy would not have been street released if this was a felony case.

Metro will not answer our question about security protocols with its bus drivers and won’t talk about the incident since it’s an ongoing investigation.

Metro CEO Lauren Cencic issued a statement saying, “the safety of all staff and riders is our primary concern and it’s a priority every day. We appreciate continued support and the vital services they provide every day.”

The union leaders say this is not an isolated incident so they are also pleading with state senators to pass a bill that would enhance criminal charges for assaulting public transportation drivers.

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