Passenger arrested for spitting in the face of Metrobus driver

- Another Metrobus driver has been assaulted after being spit in face by a passenger on his bus, Metro Transit Police say. This comes after a woman was seen on surveillance video throwing a cup filled with urine at a bus driver last month.

The alleged assault happened on a U4 Metrobus at around 6:15 a.m. Monday in the 4200 block of Minnesota Avenue in Northeast D.C.

Michael Timmons, a bus driver with 18 years of experience on the job, says he was spit on by a man who is a frequent passenger on his bus.

“He didn't say anything,” Timmons described to FOX 5. “I didn't even know that he was right there until he hit my face. And then I looked and he walked across the front of the bus. I was like I know he didn't just spit in my face, you know? So when I was crossing the light, I pulled up beside him to see if he was going to say something or did I leave you or something like that. He didn't say anything. He just kept on walking.”

Timmons was taken to Providence Hospital where his blood was drawn to make sure he did not contract any illness from the foreign bodily fluid.

Metro Transit Police would later locate the suspect, 31-year-old James Miller, at a Shell gas station on Benning Road. He was arrested for misdemeanor simple assault.

Metro’s worker union, ATU Local 689, says the penalties need to be stiffer against people who assault Metro bus operators and want to see these types of charges become felonies instead of misdemeanors.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld agreed with the union.

“We think that it is important that an enhanced penalty is available for assaults on transit providers,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “More than that, I think, and I introduced to the council a couple of years ago with our Safer, Stronger package, I think there should be enhanced penalties for any crimes on Metro transit operators or passengers.”

“I think clearly that incident really shows what our drivers and operators go through on a regular basis, and I think they need to be protected to the maximum that they can be protected,” said Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld. “I just think it makes common sense. No one deserves to be treated like that and so we got make sure that there are penalties in place to prevent that.”

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