MTA NYC Transit bus driver Marlene Bien-Aime showing a bruise resulting from an attack by 17 tear old Steangeli Medina. Photo courtesy of Richard Harbus for the NY Daily News.
It seems every couple of months, I am writing an entry about a MTA bus driver being attacked. Every time I do so, it always brings back memories of how my dad who was a 29.5 year veteran MTA bus driver, was attacked when hit by a bottle.
The latest attack happened in the Bronx where 48 year old Marlene Bien-Aime was attacked by 17 year old Steangeli Medina due to not allowing her Chihuahua to board without being in a travel crate. Barry Paddock & Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has more in this report:
Carrying a Chihuahua, Medina boarded the Bx9 bus on Fordham Road at Cambreleng Ave. in Belmont just before 6 p.m., police said. She became enraged when Bien-Aime said the pet had to be in a crate to travel.
“She said, ‘I’m gonna hit you,'” Bien-Aime said.
The driver responded, “It’s not me, it’s MTA.”
Seconds later, the first punch was thrown, said Bien-Aime, who spent Wednesday night at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Marlene Bien-Aime, 48, had turned her attention away from the disgruntled teenager at the front of the bus and faced the windshield when the brutal attack began Tuesday night, she said outside Bronx Criminal Court.
“When I turned my head, that’s when she hit me,” Bien-Aime said. “She punched me in my eyes while I was sitting. She hit me several times in my eyes. She hit me all over my head and on my back.”
As the blows landed, Bien-Aime struggled to remove her seat belt, she said. Good Samaritans managed to restrain the teenager – identified by police as Steangeli Medina – but Medina soon broke free.
She punched Bien-Aime some more and dragged her down the steps and off the bus – by her hair, the driver said.
“I rolled over and fell,” Bien-Aime said. “She was on top of me and she kept hitting me in the head. She was hitting me, hitting me, pulling my hair.”
Bien-Aime spoke briefly before going into the courthouse, where prosecutors are considering felony assault charges against Medina.
Removing her sunglasses, Bien-Aime revealed a badly swollen black eye. She also showed a large bruise on her upper left arm. She said her nose was broken and that she suffered from head and neck pain.
Click here for the complete report.
Once again this incident shows that bus driver safety is a highly important issue that has yet to have a solution put in place system wide. Back in December 2008, 46 year old MTA NYC Transit bus driver Edwin Thomas was fatally stabbed by a fare evader on his Brooklyn bus. This led to the agency announcing a fe weeks after that they would be testing bus driver protection partitions. Unfortunately the partitions did not debut until January 2010 & has yet to move past the initial test stage.
How many more drivers need to be injured or die before their safety is addressed on each & every bus in the agency’s fleet? Why have we not seen much of an advance in the use of the partitions? While it is understandable that the cost will be high, it is an expense that has complete merit & needs to be taken care of regardless of the financial state. Anything less is completely unacceptable to the thousands of drivers who put their life on the line everyday to move the people of NYC.
xoxo Transit Blogger