Metro Transit union defends injured bus driver
Man, 18, charged while police search for two other young men
The union representing Metro Transit bus drivers is rallying behind the injured driver who tried to break up a fight between two young women on Tuesday night.
Police say the 44-year-old driver tried to stop the fight around 9:20 p.m. Then, three young men attacked him near the bus terminal in Dartmouth.
Tyler Power, 18, has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, breaking a court-ordered curfew and drug possession, including crack cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Police are looking for two other suspects.
The union says the driver is a good Samaritan who was knocked unconscious in an attack that had plenty of witnesses.
“He did get himself involved in it. But at the same time as a human being he has an obligation, I think, to step in and to help support someone who was hurt and that's what he did,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508 president Ken Wilson.
The driver, who was operating the number 61 bus at the time, was treated at the Dartmouth General Hospital for what police say are minor injuries to his face. The union says he's off work for at least the rest of the week.
On Wednesday, some drivers wore buttons calling on the federal government to introduce a two-year prison sentence for an attack on transit workers.
The city says drivers are supposed to call for help when they see a fight, but spokesperson Jennifer Stairs says they’re not upset at this driver.
“We're again in no way faulting him for what he did and what we train our drivers to do may not have been what he did, but that doesn't mean he didn't do what many people would say was morally the right thing to do,” she said.
Witness Kayla Arlington disagrees.
“I can him see him like separating it, like moving each other away and maybe taking the girl and separating them, but that was wrong when he chucked her on the ground,” she said.
“Since you're a bus driver, call the police. Why you got to get yourself involved in it when you know you're going to get beat up?” said fellow witness Emily McMullin.
Power was arrested at the same bus terminal 90 minutes after the attack. Police say it's unclear if he was trying to catch a bus.
He’s due back in court in September.
By the numbers
Attacks on bus drivers are relatively rare in Halifax. Stairs says this was the first attack of 2014.
Last year there were two reported incidents, while there were three in 2012.
There was a shooting on a Metro Transit bus in 2013 on Highfield Park Drive, but the driver was not injured.
Stairs says there was a sexual assault on a female bus driver in 2008.
"That incident was the catalyst to install video cameras on all buses, which has helped considerably to discourage violence on buses," she said.